I have had two weird brushes with mortality lately – none of them have involved me directly, thankfully (baby kicks in reminder of the lives we are both living right now …) – but this is kind of a mind fuck for me, all the same.
(Sorry – I should have put something in there that said something to the effect of “I’m reminded of how short life is,” but I’m all about honesty here. I am having a hard time processing everything. Hence, that delightful phrase “mind fuck.”)
First – a tribute to someone I never met – Jim Mosier from Oxford Falls Mississippi: The world is a strange place that seems to get smaller with each passing phase of technology. I never met Jim, I just knew him first from Twitter and then on Facebook. Most of my foodie friends know Jim because of his carefully crafted Bloody Mary mixes and other items that he developed in his kitchen. Jim was passionate about small and independent businesses. He was also handy for a quick and snarky comment on Facebook. I will miss his wit and spirit. I guess Jim passed on about a month ago, so this is a belated note of mourning, but Jim will be missed all the same.
I sit here today and I keep writing and deleting the next narrative. Because how can you encapsulate in words someone who was larger than life, more original than any character shown on screen or page … how can you write about someone who should not be dead? Someone whose spirit should have transcended something as unfair as an untimely death?
My phone rang last night and it was my beloved mom, in tears. My heart stopped as I wondered if something had happened to my father or another member of my family. But no – it was news about one of my mother’s dearest friends, taken too soon after a reported ATV accident.
Sandra Ehrhardt. I’ve known that woman since I was a child. I babysat her daughters. I remember going to the hospital after her youngest, Samantha, was born. The first time I ever pumped gas? It was for Sandra … She was my 4-H leader, she taught me how to make homemade caramels. When I started my job at Schmidt Printing, I found out that one of my co-workers who later became one of my dearest friends was her first cousin. I know this woman’s mother. I know her husband. I attended her eldest daughter’s wedding and I remember how beautiful Sandra looked that day.
This woman was in my life. Not a constant presence, but if someone mentioned her name in passing, it brought up the instant image of Sandra’s quick grin.
There are a couple songs that are in my head today – one is a quick lyric from Bruce Springsteen’s “Terry’s Song”: “When they made you brother, they broke the mold.” And then my mind turns to Neil Diamond and his song “Done too Soon.” Diamond goes through a list of historical figures – Jesus Christ to “E.A. Poe” and then sings: “And each one there/ Has one thing shared: / They have sweated beneath the same sun, / Looked up in wonder at the same moon, / And wept when it was all done / For bein' done too soon …”
I try to be cognizant of my loved ones. There are people in my heart who are gone that are thought of daily. Does death make me appreciate my parents more? I loved them fiercely in the first place. But I will not lie. After a restless night that found me on the couch sleeping, waking, and feeling my kid’s intermittent kicks, I crawled into my own bed this morning and marveled at the bristly feel of my husband’s new haircut. Then I texted my mom to remind her that I loved her. Then my cousin Trix, who called immediately – I made sure to get a quick “I love you” in before we hung up. I emailed my friend Cathy to tell her that I loved her and that I was thinking about her family in the loss of her beloved cousin. I’ll try to call my dad this afternoon. I need to text my other cousin who is celebrating her birthday today …
Today, in the midst of email requests for work projects, I will let my mind wander. Although I’m more secular than spiritual these days, I offered up a very heartfelt prayer to Whomever last night to make sure that Sandra’s family felt peace in the midst of all of this turmoil. I pray for Mark. I pray for the girls. I pray for the grandbabies that were such a light in Sandra’s life.
To be honest: Today fucking sucks. And that’s about all I got … but I also have a ton of memories. If you’re the praying type – say a prayer for Sandra’s family. I know some of my readers know them as well as I do. And if you’re not the praying type – have a good thought for them. If you would have known Sandra, you would have been marveled by her. She was a force to be contended with. She was a good mom, a good wife, a wonderful grandma, and a good friend. The world is a little emptier today without her.