Rosemary Quigley, RIP

Back in April I wrote about Rosemary Quigley, a good friend of mine from high school who suffered from cystic fibrosis. I had stumbled upon her Slate diary, in which she recounted her double lung transplant earlier this year.

Two days ago, I happened to be looking through my referral logs (the server report that indicates how people show up to your website). My heart skipped a beat when I saw dozens of people showing up from Google searching for Rosemary’s name. I assumed the worst, and today heard the news: Rosemary passed away on Monday. She was 33.

Rosemary knew she was not going to live well into her 60s or 70s; CF typically takes victims in their 30s. The double lung transplant helped her hold on long enough to get married in May. I don’t have any details about what happened more recently that lead to her death. I received an e-mail from her sister in June, where she indicated Rosemary had struggled post-operation with rejection issues.

Rosemary was a remarkable person, our lives are all the richer for her presence. For those in the Boston area who knew Rosemary, a vigil is being held at St. Elizabeth’s in Acton tomorrow, funeral and burial are on Saturday morning.

2 responses to “Rosemary Quigley, RIP”

  1. Rick: I think your writings on Rosemary are beautiful. I graduated with you from HS in the same class and have known the Quigleys since I was four, growing up three houses away. Rosemary was a persistent and gifted woman who embraced life always. While doing some inspirational reading before planning to speak at tomorrow night's vigil I found this quote from her “Skirmishes” article posted in the Boston Review and wanted to share it with you. “I am discouraged by people who confer admiration on my most basic accomplishments; I seek supporters who never think I have done too much, who will push me further for as long as possible. I focus my spirit to outlast my withering body. Illness trumps the freedom to pick one's fights.” I think it portrays her personality very well – although it may not show her sarcastic side. She will be missed – the world was a better place everyday with her in it.

  2. Yesterday I was going through the pocket of a jacket in my closet and I came across the Boston Globe obituary by which I first became acquainted with Rosemary Quigley. While I discovered that we had many acquaintances in common — she and I served clerkships at the same federal courthouse in Portland, Maine — I was deeply sorry not to have heard of Rosemary Quigley prior to her death. Since her death, she has become one of my heroes. As the father of a little girl with cystic fibrosis, I have found Rosemary Quigley's life story to be a great inspiration — a template for how my daughter might grow up and make contributions that are informed by, rather than made in spite of, her CF. Occasionally I have had the opportunity to write or speak publicly about CF, and I always find myself invoking Rosemary Quigley's observation that she tended to lose interest in people who expressed surprise at her achievements and instead preferred to associate with folks who demanded that she do even more. I've always wanted to tell the Quigley family that, when death sadly transformed their daughter into a historical figure, she began a new life as a hero to people like me and my family. But I've never been able to figure out how to contact them.

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