Goodbye, Jo. We love you.
Dr M. R. Rajagopal writes:
Our dear Jo, Professor Jo Eland, is no more.
She came into our lives, sprinkled love abundantly, conquered our hearts and now she is gone. She died in the morning of the 25th of September, 2016.
In December 2009, she led a group of young students from Iowa to us on a cultural immersion program. And slid beautifully into our lives. She faced problems; Lord, plenty of them; and taught us a lesson in equanimity in the way she dealt with them. And thereafter she would come at the end of every year, a new flock with her to whom as well as to us she gave of her love in abundance.
Initially for me, she was just a loving Professor of Nursing; but I did not know much about her. Then while attending a discussion at a meeting in New York I heard one of the participants speaking about a landmark study by one Professor Eland! I looked her up, and sure enough, there it was, the pioneering work on pain in children. And that was not the only time. Her name would pop up in discussions in various parts of the world, almost unfailingly whenever pain in children was discussed.
An avid photographer, she would capture things that most of us would never see. If you would like to see a sample, go to http://joeland.smugmug.com/Outside-the-United-States/India-20132014
As a mentor, if there was a problem somewhere, Jo would quietly find and fix it. I remember once, soon after their arrival in Trivandrum, the girls in the group all went on an excited shopping spree – except one who had no money. She had scraped together enough to come on the trip, but had none left for luxuries like shopping. Jo pressed some money into her hands and made sure that she had as much fun as the others.
For all of us, end of December every year was a time to wait for Jo and her new team. And then one year, she wrote that she had cancer. “But I will be there”, she assured us. She would manage the three weeks with us in between chemotherapy sessions. And she continued to come every year. Two years back she introduced Dr Ann Broderick to us with the team. In her thoughtful way, I now realise, she was ensuring that the visits and the mentoring will continue.
Dear Jo, you have taught me acceptance with courage. You dealt with the inevitable end as philosophically as the disease and treatment. We will miss you Jo; we will miss you a lot.
If there is a somewhere out there, I shall see you there. Until then, let me hold you in my heart, dear friend.