Lesson Learned (June 2)

Much of my time grieving the death of Araceli, my beloved, has focused on legacy. We had the rare privilege of a long and fruitful marriage. A legacy of promises made and promises kept is a worthy gift to hand off to our children Maria and Ronce, as well as our granddaughters Aliza, Harper Rose, Emilia and Camille. I enjoyed my 45 years and nine months of abundantly living with the bride of my youth. Now Araceli has gone on to her heavenly home. My remaining days and perhaps years open before me, allowing me to focus on Araceli’s legacy.

Something my physician wife put into place that surely defines her healing gift is the “Araceli Ganan Almond, MD, Health Field-Related Scholarship” here in Upshur County. Our friends and neighbors have gifted a substantial endowment. Now I have the honor to give a $300 award to the first recipient of the scholarship. God willing, there will be many more awards. However, I am excited that Ashlee Huffman, an aspiring License Practical Nurse (LPN) student will be the first recipient. While a student at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Ashlee has already begun her educational journey into healthcare at the Fred Eberle Technical Center (FETC).

Her teachers at FETC gave a nod to Ashlee Huffman, granting her the well-deserving recommendation for the health field-related scholarship. Ashlee has completed both the Therapeutic Services program (2021) and the Allied Health program (2022) while still in high school. As a high school graduate, she sets her sights and aims high for the LPN program this fall. Ashlee’s teachers graciously describe her: “Ashlee has a desire to learn as much about healthcare as she possibly can. Ashlee is a kind, compassionate, genuine young lady. Ashlee works at Kroger and always has a smile on her face when I am in there.” Her preceptors said she was delightful and they were honored to have her at their facility.

Just a year ago on May 17, 2021, Araceli crossed from this life to the next. Over my 52 years studying and practicing medicine, I have been with many folks who are breathing their last breath. What a high privilege to be offering Araceli a chocolate-covered strawberry, looking into her loving eyes. As she took a deep breath her gaze deepened, and she looked with even deeper love past me. I exclaimed, “Araceli, you are gone,” recognizing she was looking into heaven. How peaceful!

Now I look at a young person who brings all her life energy to the healing profession. There is much I might say. Ashlee, keep your passion and never give up! That is my advice. Consider the life of Araceli Ganan Almond, MD, who enjoyed the practice of medicine and wanted to leave a legacy for you and others.

My Lesson Learned is about the circle of life. Ashlee, you will be there at the birth of precious babies. These will be supremely happy times. You will comfort patients at moments of extreme suffering, easing their pain. And you will be there to hold a hand and offer peace to those who will pass from this life to the next. May your journey in health care be modeled after Araceli Ganan Almond, MD, my soulmate.


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