None of us knows where the path that is life will take us — the hills, valleys, plains we’ll confront. Some are granted a long journey, smooth sailing. For others, the road abruptly ends in childhood or youth or middle age, and we find it difficult to comprehend the whys of those lives untimely cut short.
We have just lost one of our Farm Press family, Scarlett Bright, a part of our close-knit organization for the past 17 years, gone much too soon, at age 44, another victim of the scourge that is breast cancer.
Hers was a particularly virulent form of the disease, diagnosed less than a year ago. She went through the poison that is chemotherapy … and the cancer spread. Then surgery … and the cancer spread. Then double-dose radiation … and the cancer spread.
Nothing seemed to slow its inexorable march through her body, and hardly a week after she’d been sent home from a last-ditch effort at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — to try and find something, anything to stop the disease — she was gone.
She is the third in our extended Farm Press family to die from the insidious foe that is cancer within the past five years, and we are immeasurably saddened to have lost them.
Scarlett came to us as an advertising representative, mostly working via telephone. Her sparkling personality, room-brightening smile, and easy laugh came through even on the phone, and she soon had a cadre of long-distance clients and friends.
A few years later, she had advanced to head our entire classified advertising department. At farm shows and other events from California across the Sunbelt to the east coast, Scarlett met and made a legion of friends. She would have been making rounds at the upcoming Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, visiting clients, greeting long-time friends, meeting new ones.
During the months of treatment — the chemo with its nausea, pain, fatigue, hair loss, the radiation with its burning — when she might understandably have withdrawn from everyday life, she smilingly donned her wig, or head scarf, or jaunty hat, and between sessions in the cancer clinic kept right on working, determined not to let the disease drag her down.
And when everything medicine had to offer had failed, she smiled through the pain, hoped for a miracle, and sent cheery e-mails and Facebook posts.
The outpouring of messages, postings on Facebook, visits, and financial assistance in her final days, are testament to the caring of the broad universe of those whose lives she’d touched. KBH, the local farm equipment manufacturer, thoughtfully sent their airplane to Houston to make her final trip home easier, and there were numerous other acts of generosity and kindness.
“We will always remember her thirst for life and her unique dedication,” said Greg Frey, our publisher. “She is, and always will be, a member of our family. Her courage, spirit and enthusiasm will be missed deeply by us, and by all who knew her.”
Goodbye, Scarlett. You fought the good fight…