Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reconnecting with Grace

I had not had any meaningful contact with Grace for almost 10 years when I picked up a message from my university alumni office about two and a half years ago.

My old journalism school roommate was trying to track me down. Could they forward my contact information to her?

Of course they could! I called back right away, excited that Grace had taken the initiative to reconnect, something I had been meaning to do forever. I left a message and asked for a return call so I could get Grace's details as well.

I never heard back, from Grace or from the alumni association, and after a few weeks of happy anticipation, the idea of reconnecting got pushed to the back of my mind once again, filed away on the list of things that I absolutely would get around to, one of these days.

Until last night.

I was playing idly on the computer and Grace's face popped into my mind. This time, instead of just thinking "I really must look her up" I typed her name into a search engine and waited, happy and pleased that I was finally following through on something that had been nagging around the edges of my psyche for so long.

The first link I opened was her obituary.

My former roommate and dear friend died almost exactly two years ago after a painful battle with Lupus. The disease struck in 2002 when her first and only child - a son - was 10 months old. It included serious muscle inflammation and weakness that within months saw her hospitalized and essentially a quadriplegic.

Grace fought tooth and nail to recover and reclaim her life, I read. In 2003 she published a book about her struggle with chronic illness, dependence and her experience as a patient. In 2006, just months after she attempted to contact me, she succumbed to the disease and a myriad of resultant medical problems.

She was 37.

And so, after crying my eyes out for a little while I did the only thing I felt I could do: I bought her book.

It's due to arrive in 5-7 business days and when it does I will curl up with it on the couch. And through my tears I will finally stop putting off what I have been meaning to do forever, though I will do it in a manner I never, ever expected.

I will reconnect with Grace.

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56 comments:

ewe are here said...

So terribly sad.... and a reminder of how life is short.

I'm sorry you lost your friend.

Holly said...

oh my... it is unfortunate you were never able to connect again in person, but I love that you are going to do so through her book.

why is it that we push the more personal things we want to do off of our to-do list? I am guilty of this myself. I'm sure this post is a bit of an eye-opener for both of us.

hugs.

Holly said...

.. and I don't mean we push them away on purpose, just other things take over...

OHmommy said...

Oh. Man.

I am so sorry Kelly. Thanks for the reminder, I have been meaning to connect w/someone dear to me too.

Hugs

Alexandria said...

What an aweful way to find out about the death of your friend. I'm sorry you were unable to reconnect with her while she was still alive. Big hugs.

Rachel said...

Oh Kelly,

I am so sorry. I'm sorry for her loss, and for yours. I'm glad she wrote a book, I'm glad you have it coming to you.

So many hugs. Life is too short.

Hugs honey

Kat said...

Now I'm crying right along with you.
I am so sorry.

the planet of janet said...

i hope you can find the connection and closure you need in her book.

sky girl said...

Oh my gosh, I wasn't expecting that when I first started reading. How very sad.

I'm terrible about keeping in touch and always feel badly about it. Just not badly enough to actually pick up the phone. Guess I should suck it up eh?

Laura said...

Chills, shivers, tears and hugs. May her words touch your heart and soul, like I am sure you did hers.

HUGS.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I am so so sorry. Oh my gosh Kelly.

Big hugs. What a devastating reminder to listen to those little voices that tell us to look someone from our past up.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Whoa that is rough. But, I'm sure she remembered you well if, in her last days, she attempted to contact you. I pray you will have peace with her memory.

Kami said...

Oh my goodness, that is not the way to reconnect is it?

But the book is much better than nothing, I am sure you take the journey with her as you read it....

So sad.

Michelle said...

((HUGS)) I'm so sorry for your loss.

Barrie said...

Oh, Kelly. That is so sad. I'm ordering her book too. xo

flutter said...

Oh, Kelly

Aunt Becky said...

Oh dude, I know how this feels. I'm so sorry for the loss of your old friend.

Mr Lady said...

I'm so sorry, honey.

Heather said...

So sad. I'm sorry for your lost friend.

Melissa said...

So glad you gave us a link for the book. I'm off to add that to my wishlist.

I hope your able to reconnect.

Stimey said...

I'm so sorry. The news must have been such a shock. Thinking of you...

Badness Jones said...

Kelly - I'm so sorry. Life is so precious, isn't it?

Karen said...

Oh, Kelly. I'm so sorry. I lost a friend to a brain tumor earlier this year and even though we hadn't been in touch for years either, it was still hard. I know what you're feeling. I'm so sorry for your loss. I, too, will buy the book.

Parent Club said...

I learnt of a university residence-mate dying tragically in a helicopter crash in Nepal -- through a Toronto newspaper.

She was someone I always "meant" to reconnect with. I felt horribly guilty. So I googled her family's address and wrote them a card telling them how she touched my life.

Her family responded thanking me for the support and kind words.

Write a letter - even if you have no where to mail it - it reconnects.

Blessings From Above said...

I am so sorry. This must have been such a terrible shock, to say the least.

There are several friends from highschool I have been meaning to call. You just gave me the motivation to do it.

((HUGS))

Lorie said...

I am so sorry that you didn't have the chance to reconnect before her passing, but I hope you find peace in reading her story.

for a different kind of girl said...

This breaks my heart. I'm sorry you didn't have a chance to enjoy each other's company in person, but I imagine her book will be a wonderful way to remember her.

daysgoby said...

Oh, Kelly - beautiful and heart-wrenching.

I must go call some people.

Jaina said...

Oh goodness Kelly, I'm so sorry to hear this. I will keep all of you in my prayers. I hope you reconnect through her book...can you make a book recommendation for us?

Chantal said...

Oh Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss.

Autumn said...

I am so sorry for your loss. How terribly sad.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Oh Kelly, I'm so very sorry. That is just heartbreaking.

Indy said...

Oh man. That is an awful way to find out the news about your friend. I am so sorry. I hope the book brings your closer to her and that you can get through this.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I am new here! What a great blog :)

Joanna said...

Wow! That had to be a sucker punch from no where. So sorry.

jb said...

This is my first time reading your blog. I'm so very sorry to hear about your friend.

- JB

Gail said...

On the odd occasion I think of someone from the past and Google the name, that is an underlying fear of mine -- that I find an obituary.

I still get emails from friends of my husband, who died nearly three years ago, who just found his blog and send a message to reach out.

That's one reason I write and encourage my husband to write: words will outlive the writer.

Meli said...

I am so sorry. What an unpleasant way to find out about your friend. At least through her book she will always be a part of your life.

tommie said...

What a sad reminder that life is short...

RiverPoet said...

I can only imagine what you felt like when you discovered your friend's fate. Lupus is a terrible disease that has struck my family HARD. My mother had it (and it contributed to her death). My sisters have it, and both are disabled. My BFF has it (and has had 2 heart attacks now at age 50). My daughter has it (and it may be linked to her mental illness). And my own ANA test came back positive this time, so it's likely I have it, too. So far pain is my #1 symptom, but it's not trivial pain.

I have added this book to my wish list of books to purchase. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Peace - D

Zip n Tizzy said...

So very sorry for your loss.
How fortunate for you to have had her in your life.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

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Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

This was so nicely written. And what a story (her book, I mean). I'll have to look to see your thoughts on her story.

petite gourmand said...

That is so sad.....It really reminds me not to put things off and really live in the moment.

Thank you for sharing this.

Mandy said...

Oh God, honey. I am so sorry. :( I know that must have been tough to take in...and so unexpected. I'm glad she wrote this book so you can reconnect with her in some small way. Lupus is a terrible, terrible illness.

Tracey said...

I'm so sorry...

It is a small blessing, though, that she left behind a piece of herself in that book.

Deb said...

Oh, hon, I'm so sorry.

Redneck Mommy said...

How very sad.

I'm so very sorry for you.

Mom On The run said...

Thats dreadful. I'm sorry. I hope that reading her book helps you to reconnect.

Karen MEG said...

Kelly, how terribly sad, I'm so sorry that you weren't able to reconnect with her sooner. Lupus is a terrible disease and unfortunately it hits many women in the prime of their lives.

Hugs to you xoxo

Smiling Shelly said...

How horrible! I'm so sorry you weren't able to reconnect with her before she passed. I think you buying her book will make her very happy and you're right...it will reconnect the two of you (even if it isn't they way you had planned).

This is yet another reminder of how short life really is.

Take care.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I'm so very sorry. :(

Beck said...

Oh God, that is so sad. I'm sorry.

Adrian said...

Oh how sad. I had almost this exact thing happen to me as well, so I know how devastating it can be. My best friend had moved away a couple of years ago and we had been gradually losing touch.

I sent her a little gift for her birthday and got a message from her boss that she had died of a sudden anuerism almost 3 months prior. I don't know if her family didn't know how to contact me or didn't think of contacting me or what, but I was devastated. Wish she'd had a book or something. I've only got a few photos of her and a couple of gifts she had given me to remember her by.

CC said...

HUGS!!!!

I've been trying to find my college roommate for years. Facebook isn't working and neither is the alumni magazine. I can only hope that if/when I find her, there will be a happier ending.

Magpie said...

Oh, that is heartbreaking.