In Albuquerque, NM, the Spring of 1998, Kerry Hill was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, which, after a year of chemotherapy and radiation, returned. So, the RN and Massage Therapist went through chemotherapy again. This time it seemed to have destroyed all the carcinogenic cells. Soon after, I left for the Pacific Northwest and she returned to her native North Dakota, where she taught at a college and opened a private practice. In 2003, Kerry married and the couple began to renovate the farmhouse where she was born, planning to make it their home. But before they could move in, cancer cells were discovered in her lungs.

On November 15 2006, Kerry's strong spirit left us to journey further North.

There is a poem by Alaskan poet John Haines that exemplifies Kerry, whose family immigrated to North Dakota from Saskatchewan:

Woman on the Road

It was in North Dakota,
and she walked the furrows
under poles half in sunlight
and night-telling wires.

Winter was close to her hand
in the dry corn-stubble
of the fields, and the thin
elm shadows
falling behind her.

The distance held her, the brown
earth stretched before her.
She thought of the summer,
so distant now,
when she walked this way
crowded by the dense green
of the corn, and the wind
came to her full of the song
of the locust and lark.

So much was gone from her,
familiar as the coat she wore,
and yet she knew her way.
She climbed a little hill
and stopped there;
saw that the road went on,
that the air was keen
toward Saskatchewan.

And turned and walked back
to her house still in the sun,
as the calm fall made
a noise like a broken stick.

It was a privilege to have loved this courageous and generous woman, and to dedicate "The Way North" to her.

Joel Weishaus
Portland, OR.


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