(CNN) — Leslie Elder was always a fighter. But in a message to a friend in the waning days of her life, she seemed exhausted.
The note, written at a time of spiritual darkness, suggested defeat after a decades-long struggle for medical coverage.
“I honestly don’t know how much more I can endure,” Elder wrote earlier this year in a Facebook message to her friend Liz Jacobs. “I am fighting for (Medicaid) and disability. I can’t work I sit in bed I cry a lot. I am still fighting for healthcare and still fighting foreclosure.
“I am so upset but perhaps it was not meant to be. I don’t know anything anymore,” said Elder, who died in July at age 63 without insurance coverage.
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As she typed the note, Elder could scarcely breathe. Her lungs had filled with fluid over several months; her respiratory system was shutting down. After visits to the emergency room and several free clinics, Elder was finally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But what makes her family bristle: Elder did not have to die.