so it goes
Facebook, lately, has become some weird fusion of social network mixed with local news rag with some kind of town crier thrown in. We have the chick instagramming her breakfast just above my old favorite professor announcing her sorrow at the loss of a long-time friend.
I scrolled through the 60+ comments and noticed a lot of people from my old college commenting, with equal sorrow. My heart started sinking. I must know this person. I started mentally scanning faces until I found the name.
She was part of my very first memory of my undergrad experience. I remember her directing our car to the drop off point. Mama and I jumped out and began hauling all my crap to DeSmet Hall. It was finally happening. I somehow got out of Westwood, and I was going to be living on-campus at an expensive school. I actually found a way to pay for it.
I mostly remember her bright red hair–so orange and fire-y in the August sun that it made my hair look downright mousey. She had this big smile and wire-rimmed glasses. I didn’t know it then, but she would influence a lot of my life.
A couple days later, I landed a job in the LDC, next to my dorm–working in the Career Services Center. That first year, a lot of my work would be about running things from our counseling staff to different people on-campus. I made long treks to the ALC–where the graduate programs sat. I also made short treks over to Loyola to the internship and study abroad office–where the red head worked. She was the head of internships, so I saw her pretty much every other day that first year. I worked with her a lot when we had career fairs. She advised me on internships and helped me land one with a children’s book publisher my junior year. She recognized my talents early on and tried to link me with people who could help me. She was one of the first people to tell me I should get into the field I work in now. I always had fond memories of her. Of her spunk. Her insight. Her tireless advocacy for people who were different. We reconnected years later on Facebook, and she was so proud of where I was now.
Her two kids are about the age I was when I lost my mother. I remember them as little kids and remember marveling in June that they were adults now when she posted photos. They both have her hair and her eyes. They are taller, though. I keep thinking of her daughter–the light of her life.
For a long time, I wore the loss of my mother on my sleeve–as prominent as my heart. Sometimes, it left marks on my wrists. I had this need to tell everyone she was gone and how much it hurt to have her missing from my life. It’s gotten better. But–some days–things happen that bring back all those emotions. I guess today is that day. A day to be quiet. To remember this amazing woman and the children she loved so much.
It’s so strange, but in an odd way, there is a kind of kinship that exists among people who lost their parents too soon. The circumstances are different, but we have all spent time on the floor. We all know what it’s like to crawl out of the darkness that is losing that person. And figuring out how to walk again. I still fall down, often, and sometimes my legs feel like those of a newborn calf.
And man, it hurts to see another person on their knees. I’d do anything to spare them that.