From CBS News:
When Julie Yip-Williams [’97] found out she was dying of cancer, she wasn’t completely surprised.
“I’ve always felt like I was living on borrowed time,” she said.
“Why do you think that is?” asked Smith.
“Look at my life, this crazy life.”
She’s been thinking a lot about “this crazy life” lately — how it began, and how it will end.
It started 42 years ago in post-war Vietnam. Julie was born totally blind. Immediately, her grandmother intervened. “She set up a meeting between my parents and this herbalist, and had my mother and father take me to this man,” she said.
And her grandma’s intention was what? “To have me killed,” she said, “because I was blind.”
“And she just thought there was absolutely no future in that?”
“There was no future for me, nobody would ever want to marry me, I was an embarrassment to the family,” Julie said.
But instead, her life was spared. “The herbalist said, ‘I won’t participate in this kind of dirty business.’ And he walked away.”
She was three when her family fled Vietnam for the United States. They made it to California, where she says an eye surgeon changed her life. “Here’s my mother who doesn’t speak any English, okay? And she gets me to this young pediatric ophthalmologist who has never seen a case like mine before. And he tells her, ‘I don’t know how much vision I can give her, but we can try.'”
What he gave her was enough, though she is still legally blind. “I cannot drive, I can’t play tennis. Like, my dream is to play tennis!”
Read the whole thing. Julie’s blog is here. Example entry:
Dear Josh [her husband],
Sometimes, I can feel the weight of your stare as I feign sleep in those torturous minutes before I fully wake. Your grip on my hand has tightened; that’s what probably woke me in the first instance. I can feel your love. I can feel you trying desperately to save the image of my face in some special place within your soul that might be immune to the amnesiac effects of time. I can feel your fear as you unwillingly envisage a life without me – how will you comfort the girls like I can; how will plan the birthday parties and arrange the girls’ schedules; how will you fix all the things that break in our home; how will you do all this while still working your demanding job and maintaining the stellar course of your career? In turn, in my own mind’s eye, I can see you cleaning out our closets and bathroom drawers to dispose of all my things. I can see you bringing flowers to my gravesite. I can see you watching what were once “our” favorite TV shows after the girls have gone to bed, in the dark, alone, the television casting its eerie blue light on your face that seems to be permanently sculpted in sadness.
Julie died last week.
Condolences to all.