Tag Archives: death

In Memoriam

30 Aug

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
–Thomas Campbell

I’m watching the Emmys right now and it’s that part that tugs at your heart strings.  You know, the part where they run through the images of all those from the entertainment industry who no longer walk among us.  Cultural icons like Dennis Hopper, Lynn Redgrave, Lena Horne, Peter Graves, Robert Culp and John Forsythe.  Those who left much too soon like Brittney Murphy, Corey Haim and Gary Coleman.

These are all people who touched the fabric of our cultural evolution.  Who left their mark on the lives of many they never knew.  They will be missed.

On a more personal level, this morning my mother lost one of her best friends of over 30 years after a short fight against cancer.  My mother’s friend, Clare, was so much more to our family than I can capture here.   But she was that rare breed of person who truly cared about something simply because it interested her friends.  Heart of gold.  When I made the choice to become a single mother just shy of my 21st birthday, in a highly educated and driven community (those things just weren’t done in our community back then), Clare was the one who supported my mother while she supported my decision.  I have so many memories of her coming to visit my baby son, showering him with hugs & sweet kisses.  She was one of the first who said to me early on “you did good, kiddo.”  And she meant it.  Over the years, she gave one of those awesome hugs to my future husband, knitted blankets for my future children, my niece and my nephew.  She was front and center for almost every important family moment I can think.  She was a light that warmed the area through which she walked.

Yesterday, August 29, was the birthday of my son’s best friend and first college roommate – Andrew.   Sadly, it’s a birthday that my son and Andrew’s other college friends get together in order to remember what joy Andrew brought to their lives.  Andrew passed away during the spring break of their freshman year.  It was a shocking moment, for there wasn’t the car crash, or drinking binge or any of the other events that parents worry most about, rather Andrew suffered from a rare disorder brought about by Mar-Fan Syndrome.  Mar-Fan Syndrome is an inherited and genetic disorder causing a breakdown of the connective tissue.  This stress on the body’s tissue causes debilitating weakness of the carrier’s heart.  And so, Andrew died of a heart attack at 18.  The days and weeks that passed were filled with tears, and grief, and a hope that his parents and his sister would find solace in the love that so many had for Andrew.  On a heartening note, his parents enveloped our son with true warmth and they were able to grieve together.   The closeness that he has with them has brought a comfort to him, in hopes that he can comfort them, that in turn brought some comfort to us as we worried whether the stress of it all would be too much.

Andrew – know that you are missed and that we think of you every day.

Clare – rest in peace and thank you for being a guiding force in what I can now honestly say was a success in my early path of motherhood.

Please take a minute to enjoy your family, your life, and your gifts from day to day.  Our time here is way too precious.