Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rosalind Womack

   Rosalind Womack 

June 1949 - June 2013

Many of you have come to know my sister Rosalind through stories on this blog.  Rosalind died on Friday morning listening to the silence and the ringing bell of her husband's morning meditations.  At the end of this blog post is Rosalind's obituary for those of you who knew her personally.  This poem seems to speak as Rosalind might have in her endless curiosity...

 When Death Comes – A Poem by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Rosalind on the right with siblings and grandfather as her father goes out for a moment to himself.

Womack, Rosalind Ogden born June, 1949, died June, 2013, in her own home in Albuquerque.  Rosalind lived with equanimity and grace during the natural course of a brief terminal illness.  Her dying was free of the complicating preoccupations of intrusive life-prolonging medical interventions.  With the support of family and friends she decided instead to enjoy living as best she could free of the morbidities of a medically prolonged dying.
            Her decision not to pursue life-prolonging treatment in the face of an incurable cancer was based on a combination of no-nonsense realistic calculation and a morally principled resolve.  She did not want to waste the precious resources of her family or society pursing futile, expensive and distracting treatments.  She used her precious time to focus on being in love together with her family and friends. Roz showed us all how to practice the courageous art of dying.
Rosalind-1972-When she was in nursing school.
            Rosalind was fully experienced with the ins and outs of the medical system having trained as a nurse and worked for 40 years in Medicare and Medicaid utilization review; in medical staff quality assurance at the old Lovelace Hospital and as a cytotechnologist with Tri-Core Reference Labs. As a patient she survived multiple breast cancer treatments and a total hip replacement. With intelligence and competence she did what she could to help medicine do better at what it does well, and to stop doing so much harm, especially at the end of life.
            She was a restorative Hatha Yoga teacher who helped many older and disabled people to manage stress and feel better about living. Roz took great pleasure in the cooking, serving and the enjoyment of good food with others, and she always had sewing projects going making clothes for her nieces and their dolls. She taught cooking and sewing and the art of gracious, stylish living to her nieces and grandnieces and to their friends. Roz loved traveling with her husband to exotic places all over the world and continued planning trips and traveling until a few months before her death. Roz completed her ‘bucket list’ in grand style.
Rosalind in Rome in January
She believed it was her sacred duty to be responsible for making her living and for being attentive to and accomplishing her own dying. She arranged her affairs in order to be able to leave behind a greater wealth that could be invested anew by the coming generations. 

Roz was deeply committed to the upbringing and well-being of her beloved nieces and helped them to become the accomplished and loving ladies they are today. 
Rosalind with Larry, nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews at a favorite restaurant, The Shed, in Santa Fe in March

She was a wise and joyful Auntie, a loving generous wife, a faithful devoted daughter, niece and sister, and a fun-loving loyal friend.
Rosalind O. Womack was the daughter of Russell O. Womack Jr. and Rose Lee Stewart Womack.  
Rosalind (bottom left) in Morocco with parents and siblings

 She is survived by her husband Laurence T. Cotter, her sister Heather Lee Womack Gaume and her husband Arthur Norm Gaume; by her brother Russell O. Womack III and his wife, Charlene Hefner Womack; by her nieces Letisha Womack, Shanasi Womack Wade and her husband Chuck Wade, Camille Gaume Snyder and her husband David Snyder, Alethea Gaume Stone and her husband Tim Stone, and Brittany Gaume and her partner Colin Evans, and by grandnephews Max and Aiden Wade, and grandnieces Sara Anne Snyder, Caroline Rose Snyder, Willhelmina Womack and Eliza Stone.
It is requested that, in addition to flowers, donations be made to worthy charities. Rosalind dearly loved flowers and a generous heart.

Memorial Service

2:00 p.m.

July 12, 2013

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

431 Richmond NE 

Albuquerque, New Mexico


  1. My loving thoughts go out to you and your family.

    What grace, what style, what an inspiration she is.


  2. Heather,
    Thank you for posting the recent photo of her from Italy. It helps me envision the woman I've been thinking about and praying for these past few months. I trust your family is now coming together to celebrate her. I hope you will all take comfort in your wonderful memories.


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