Words for Lisa(Elisabeth)
What do I say about the person who gave me everything? Lisa was everything I wasn’t; she was patient, understanding, optimistic and the kindest, most loving person I’ve ever met. We met in 1995; I was getting out of a relationship and we met at a bar that had karaoke; I didn’t realize that at the time, she was trying to pick me up… We became friends and she invited me to join a music class she had been taking in “the city”.
Taking Saturday trips into Manhattan, along with our friend Mike, Lisa and I grew closer and a friendship developed into a romance and one night, after spending the day together, we kissed and our friendship became a relationship. Lisa called Mike and said “you’re not going to believe what happened!” Mike said “you and Tom hooked up, I knew that was going to happen”. From that day on, almost 23 years ago, Lisa and I were a couple. Music stardom may have eluded us, but our relationship survived and thrived and on January 29, 1999, we became husband and wife and I really did marry my best friend.
Lisa saw the potential in me, even when I didn’t see it in myself; encouraging me to go back to school and become a teacher. I decided to listen to her and earned my education degree; it changed our lives and in 2004, with our two cats Pepper and Oreo in tow, moved to Georgia and bought a home. We were able to buy a house on a nice piece of property and have a yard for a dog; Lisa really loved animals and we adopted Tanner and six months later, Maggie. Lisa and I loved our animals and our life together in Georgia; everything seemed to be falling into place.
However, life threw a curveball at Lisa and I; when in March of 2009, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was devastating news; after many tears, Lisa fought this horrible disease with all of her might. Along with being the kindest and most loving person I knew, she was also the bravest; even in the face of a disease that quickly progressed and left her bedridden and she developed life threatening infections. Despite these struggles, she still remained that kind, loving person that I fell in love with all those years ago.
Lisa spent long stretches of time in the hospital and away from home and her animals; I can’t imagine how hard that must’ve been for her, yet she managed to form friendships with doctors, nurses, and aides who treated her with love, respect and dignity and in return, she made them laugh and touched their lives; without their kindness, she wouldn’t have lived nearly as long as she did. In keeping with her bravery and determination, Lisa decided in August of 2018, to forego antibiotics and other invasive forms of treatment. By October, Lisa became gravely ill and we thought she was ready to pass, but she rallied one last time; I think she was holding on for me. Lisa returned home, but by Christmas Day she was ready to let go and this time she was ready. On December 29, shortly before 12 pm, my lover and best friend was freed from her suffering.
Anyone who took the time to get to know Lisa had their lives enriched because of it. From the lifelong friendships she forged with wonderful people or the people who took care of her, were touched by her love, laughter, and kindness. The world was a better place for having Lisa Kumpel Browning on it, I know that mine was and always will be…