Monday, December 19, 2011

For Ellen

Ellen Payne Osborn was an Advocacy for Patients client, but she was much more that that to me; she was my friend. Many of you already know the "Brad Pitt story." Before I hardly knew her, I heard she was dying to meet Brad Pitt. She was going to be 26 years old and was already very sick. I managed to get word to Brad's personal assistant Ozzie, who became one of our most treasured friends together. Brad and Jen Aniston treated Ellen to a trip to LA where Ozzie made sure she had nothing but the best. It was when she was in Jen Aniston's dressing room when George Clooney bounded in, sat down next to her, and said "and who are you?" Ozzie had set it up perfectly. That's how Ozzie is.

That was 10 years ago. Today, Ellen took her last breath.

I can't begin to imagine the number of minutes we spent on the phone together during those intervening 10 years. Although she was wheelchair-bound, she had to have a pair of red Manolos. I found some on ebay in her size for Christmas one year. She never walked in them, but she wore them. Every single day of her life -- including surgery days -- she put on her make-up and wore something styling. And no matter what -- even lying in a hospital bed -- she made everybody around her laugh. Always. I never spoke with her without laughing.

Ellen sometimes felt like a sister, sometimes like a daughter, always like a friend. I can't imagine life without her in it. Although now I know is time for her wonderful husband Kent and her BFF's to mourn, I, too, miss her already.

We promised each other we would go shopping in New York together. It was on her bucket list. So Ellen, just wait for me, okay, and we'll find Heaven's version of Madison Avenue and charge up a storm, just you and me and your red Manolos.

I'll be taking a break from blogging the news, at least for tomorrow. But she'd kick my butt if I stayed away for long, so I'll be back as soon as I'm able. Until then, say a prayer for Ellen. If ever anybody deserved safe passage to the hereafter, it's you. Jennifer

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