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Leslie Yerman

This is Nina’s tree. Nina and I became friends after I moved into the building where she lived. That July, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During most of our friendship, I tried to support her through her chemo, surgery, radiation, more chemo, and, finally palliative care. Nina loved this tree, and so we renamed it, claiming it as hers. I had to leave NYC, because of economics, but we spoke every single day. I returned to see her three times before she died. I spoke to her for the last time seven days before her death. We had always talked about me being with her, but once her brother joined her, it seemed inappropriate to interfere. He and I were in touch during that last week. She died more than two years ago, but I think about her every day. I realize that even though she thought I was supporting her, that she was my rock and foundation. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, I post this photo along with the text of Maya Angelou’s poem, “When Great Trees Fall.” It perfectly expresses how I feel about her.

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