On October 11, 2019, the family gathered to dedicate the plaque, which is mounted on a brick pillar in the breezeway and gleamed warmly in the bright autumn sun. Osmette, her husband, Hytham Kadrie, and their children and grandchildren, all Baylor grads, were in attendance. Their daughter Ismahen ’93; sons Karim ’95 and Tareck ’89, with his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Miles ’19 and Owen ’22 were at their alma mater, as well. Also, from Australia, where he is studying, Tareck and Jill’s older son Alec ’17 sent his love to his grandmother. Matt Lewis, of the Baylor administration, and his wife, Reese, who are very close friends of the Kadries’, also attended the dedication.
We can attest to Osmette’s faithfulness to Baylor because we carpooled their two sons and our two sons back and forth to the school for many years together, attending Grandparents’ Days, as well as athletic and cultural events.
As we reminisced about those days, we drifted into talking about Osmette’s struggles with cancer, which so sadly has now spread, despite two rounds of radiation. Speaking candidly about all this, Osmette, as beautiful and animated as ever, is at peace with her future.
An elegant woman of Lebanese background, Osmette grew up in Senegal (on the west coast of Africa) and met her husband Hytham, a Canadian, in Lebanon. They married and moved to Canada, where he was studying medicine, and then to Signal Mountain when he accepted a position as one of the first neurologists here.
Taking to life on Signal with enthusiasm, she and Hytham raised their family, participating in school activities and sports. The children enrolled one by one at Baylor, where they excelled at tennis, following in the footsteps of their athletic mom. Heartbreakingly, Michelle, an especially talented tennis player, was killed in a car accident when she was only 16, leaving a fissure in Osmette’s heart forever. But there was also joy as Tareck, Ismahen, and Karim grew up, and especially when Tareck, also a neurologist, married wonderful Jill, and the couple had three sons: Alec, Miles, and Owen. Ismahen and Karim have careers they enjoy – she as a guidance counselor at Chattanooga Girls’ Leadership Academy, and he as an accountant with Coyote Logistics. They all live here, a wonderful blessing.
So here’s the spiral: In 2003, uterine cancer struck Osmette, and she underwent a total hysterectomy and radiation with a fighting spirit. She told the Mirror, “I thank God that I felt fine during those treatments and was able to babysit our grandsons.” After her treatments concluded, she began volunteering at the Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital, touching many lives with her spirited and loving personality.
Years went by, and in 2016, she started coughing a lot: The cancer had returned, this time in her right lung, which had to be removed. Osmette bounced back again, adjusting to sleeping upright to get her breath. With only one lung, she couldn’t walk upstairs and started sleeping in a comfortable chair on the first floor, with Hytham sleeping on a nearby sofa.
In 2017, Osmette began having back pain, and the CT scan revealed that the cancer had spread again to left lung and left abdomen. Unfortunately, the left abdominal lesion was too large for the radiation to cure. She decided to go ahead with radiation anyway to shrink the tumor, knowing that was not a cure. It helped the back pain, allowing her to spend time with her family and grandchildren.
Knowing that she had terminal cancer, Dr. Headrick suggested that hospice become involved in her care. When the word “hospice” was spoken, it was like a shockwave: Hytham turned white as a sheet, and Ismahen had to leave the room. But Osmette didn’t turn away from the idea – in fact, she embraced it.
In addition to her dread of more treatment, Osmette had seen firsthand the effects of prolonged chemo and radiation. Her years of volunteering at the Cancer Center at Memorial taught her how relentless treatments decimated patients, robbing them of their selfhood. She knew that this diminishing path wasn’t for her. “Volunteering at the Cancer Center taught me a lot,” she said ironically. Then, her brave outlook returning, she added, “Hospice doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life. It’s more of a preparation. I chose to go with Amedisys Hospice and have been satisfied.” Hytham, Tareck, Jill, Ismahen, Karim, and her grandsons lovingly support her decision to live the rest of her life with dignity.
How does she keep going? She endures with the love from her family and friends, of whom there are many from all walks of life. Too, through the pain of losing Michelle and then her illnesses, Osmette found herself growing closer to God and putting herself in His hands.
Osmette is a woman who makes an indelible impression. With her dramatic dark hair and eyes, eyes that now reflect acceptance and courage, she is of the highest character and generosity – generosity to Baylor School, the Cancer Center, and her many, many friends. Her grace despite her reality exemplifies the greatest strength a person can hope for.
We love you so much, Osmette, and pray to deserve you as a friend.
By Anne Rittenberry