I am Millie Niss's mother, and it's a privilege to write a few words about my daughter's life and work for Cell 2 Soul. Like so many people whose lives are marked with chronic illness, Millie endured as long as she did because she was a fighter. She was intolerant of incompetence in medical personnel, family members or friends, because she knew that their mistakes could cost her her life. At the same time, she had the gift of generous concern for and interest in others that allowed her to make respectful connections even when she had been harmed. In her final hospitalization, she was certain she'd suffered a vertebral fracture during a sheet change. (She was correct.) Intubated, she wrote to her nurse: “I am not even blaming people for injuring me as I have osteoporosis but at least believe me that I have been injured.”
Millie was one of the best-educated people I have ever known. English/French bilingual, she held an honors baccalaureate in physics and math from a French lycee along with her honors BA in Math from Columbia University where she also studied as much poetry as she could and taught GED courses to Columbia employees so they could improve their lives.
I have selected three texts from Millie's poetry collection (City Bird, Blazevox, 2010) which I believe show Millie's tenderness for human suffering, her appetite for literature, and her attitude toward her own health care.
Three Poems by Millie Niss: Download M. NIss Poems
More about Millie Niss's life: Download First Create by Martha Deed
Bio: Martha Deed, PhD is a retired psychologist, poet recipient of two Pushcart nominations, and a member of Consumer Union's Safe Patient Project patient safety advocate network. She edited City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) by Millie Niss (BlazeVox, 2010) and wrote The Last Collaboration (Furtherfield, 2012). Both books are available through Amazon. Her website: www.sporkworld.org/Deed and blog: sporkworld.tumblr.com. You may email her at: M_Deed.