Thursday, April 15, 2004

Another loss of one too young 

(Daughter) A lost a very close friend last night. My whole being aches for her and for her close-knit group of friends.

Too young, too sudden, too much, continued 

S's memorial service was Tuesday evening. I spoke. I didn't plan to, but I was moved to do so because of six women there. I recalled the trip S had planned for a group of women to Seneca Falls, NY, in July, 1998, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first Women's Rights Convention. S and her business partner had founded and managed a woman's center. This trip was one of several "road trips" that she planned for clients and friends of the center and for which she came to be well-known in her circle of friends, acquaintances, and clients.

S had our four days jam-packed with sites to see and activities to do. We traveled the countryside to the homes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (actually right there in Seneca Falls), Susan B. Anthony (in Rochester), and Harriet Tubman (in Auburn), and to the gravesites of Anthony and Frederick Douglass (in the same cemetary). We also visited the Women's Rights National Historical Park and the National Women's Hall of Fame, both in Seneca Falls.

I think we numbered 12 women on the trip. Seven of us were at the church to celebrate S's life Tuesday evening. What is really remarkable about that is that many of these seven women didn't know each other before that memorable trip. Because of S, friendships started and continue to thrive several years later.

S affected countless people. Frankly, some of us wouldn't be who or what we are were it not for S.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Recalling a tragic loss 

While writing a post in a grief thread on one of the boards I frequent, the following recollection started taking shape. It is more fitting here.

When I was in 9th grade, three members of a family that I had been very close to through my grade school years were killed when the truck they were in was hit by a train. The father (of seven kids), the second-oldest son (16 or 17), and the youngest daughter (8, I think) had just left the son's girlfriend's house. A side street ran alongside the girls' house, and running parallel to that were railroad tracks. The crossing wasn't 50 yards from her house. Snow had been falling heavily. To be honest, I don't remember if gates were at the crossing or not. Did Mr. A go around the gates? Did the crossing have no gates? I seem to remember this: Authorities said they probably never saw the train. It was awful. Simply awful.

From kindergarten, I was friends with L, the only other daughter in that large family. I loved going to her house because there were so many kids, and lots of friends of the family and of the kids visited regularly. Mrs. A was so sweet and kind, and Mr. A was fun and funny! I even remember his laugh and his smile.

E, the son killed, was two years older than me. Off and on, I had had crushes on him. Other times I dreamed of him being the older brother I didn't have. Either way, he was just so cool! The crushes weren't too serious, though, and when he started dating R, a new high school friend of mine, I was jealous for about two minutes. Well, maybe a little longer. They made such an adorable couple, though, that I couldn't help but be happy for them.

News traveled so quickly that night. I don't remember who called me. I do remember that after hanging up the phone, I crawled under the desk where I crouched and cried for I don't know how long.

Students were stunned and silent at school the next day. The line at the visitation stretched out the door of the funeral home and down the street on the cold winter evening. The church where the burial mass took place was standing room only.

I remember that when R returned to school I thought how strong she was to return so soon to the place where she and E had walked the halls, holding hands and sneaking kisses. Friends helped R through her grief, and two brothers, one (RH) in my grade, the other in E's grade, reached out to her immediately.

RH and R took a liking to one another and soon started dating. R and I were not real close friends, so I don't know exactly how the relationship evolved other than from my own observation. They dated throughout high school, married, had a number of kids, fostered still more, were given grandchildren, and the last I knew--in the summer of 2000 at a class reunion--were still happily married. I have no reason to believe they are anything but that today.

The tragic loss of the three family members--husband/father, son/brother, daughter/sister--devastated countless people. I dreamed of E every single night, I swear, for a year. If he wasn't on my mind when I woke up, all I had to do was recall what I dreamed, and he was there, somewhere in the dream. The dreams weren't necessarily about him. Some were, no doubt, but usually he was just somewhere there in my dreams. For a year, E kept company with me in my slumbers.

I haven't thought about the night of the tragic accident or about the A family for quite awhile. I'm glad I've done so tonight.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Too young, too sudden, too much 

S passed away yesterday, Thursday. Her husband G found her unconscious early Wednesday morning. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was placed on life support. She died of a massive stroke yesterday morning. S is too young--54, this has happened too suddenly, and it's too much for her loved ones.

I last saw S two weeks ago this evening at a gathering of eleven women friends. She was unusually quiet as we sat around the oval table eating and talking. She had a small helping of spaghetti on her plate, but I don't know that she even touched it. She contributed very little to the conversation, telling us at one point that she had been recognized so soon at her new job when the organization held its annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon, then later saying that she had been at her new job only a week. The math didn't add up. Her mental state was noticeably in a fog.

Eventually, she quietly left the table to recline in another room. After awhile, word came back to the table that S was feeling ill. She thought she might have a sinus infection. She'd been having headaches, she had said. Later she vomited and then asked if someone would drive her home. M obliged and called the house when she returned home to tell us that S had vomited again on the way.

I hadn't heard from or seen anyone from the group until Wednesday afternoon when KM called to tell me that S had been taken to the hospital. Since then I've heard that she had told people in church this past Sunday that she was feeling better.

S was a free spirit. She marched to a different drummer. She was the pied piper. She was upbeat, optimistic, creative, genuine, caring, sensitive, intelligent, outspoken, friendly, loving, strong, powerful, intuitive, inspiring, clever, prompt, organized, encouraging, warm, sympathetic, empathetic, industrious, determined, joyful, fun, funny, crazy, daring, wise. All that and so much more. She was full of vitality and lived life to the fullest. So when we last gathered two weeks ago, we were puzzled by this very different woman.

What happened? Why did this happen?

S is too young, this is too sudden, and it's too much.

To be continued as I continue to grieve and to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the tragic and premature passing of my friend S.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Just another spring break day (for lack of a clever title) 

I need one of those handy, tiny tape-recording devices with me at all times. Something that's small enough to carry in my pocket or on a key ring or around my wrist. Something that's reliable but not too expensive. All of my ideas come to me when I have no means by which to record them, and foolishly I think I'll remember said ideas the next time I sit down to blog. This is one reason I'm so negligent in blogging. I've got a crappy memory. Another reason is I'm ill-disciplined.

Today is day two of my spring break, counting just the weekdays. And what can I say I've done? Yesterday I visited the boards, grocery-shopped, visited the boards, cleaned the mess of several days' worth of dirty dishes, visited the boards, cooked dinner, visited the boards, watched some tv and tried to stay awake to watch the ho-hum men's final. Tonight's women's game should be more exciting.

Today I visited the boards, put a load of laundry in the washer, visited the boards, went for a walk, picked up sticks in the yard, visited the boards, moved loads of laundry around, told myself to do something productive, visited the boards, came here to blog. So trivial as this entry is, it is an entry. So now I can say I blogged today!

Time flies when I waste it!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com