Sandra Zellmer on CPRBlog {Bio}
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Atrazine, Syngenta's Confidential Data, EPA's Review, and the Five Stages of Grief

My family has gotten a lot smaller lately. My mother died in 2004, my father in 2007, and my uncle in 2008.

I’ve done the five stages of grief, as introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969, but not exactly as she described. It’s true that I initially felt denial: “I’m a lucky person; this can't be happening.” Then I was angry and felt sorry for myself. Then, at least during my mother’s struggle with pancreatic cancer, I hit the bargaining table. Mom was a Sunday school teacher when I was little, so I pleaded with God: “Please let the diagnosis be wrong, please let the chemo work, please don’t let the good die young.” To hedge my bets, I occasionally promised, “if she can beat the odds, I’ll volunteer at the local cancer center and I’ll donate my life savings to research.” It didn’t work. In less than four months, she was dead.

Depression crept in, and this stage held me in its grip for a long time. I gained acceptance a year or two after my mother’s death—she would’ve wanted me to—but this stage eluded me with the loss of my father and my uncle. Now, I’m just angry. Outraged, in fact.

My father had stomach cancer. My uncle had prostate cancer. Both were farmers.

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