You know how you find yourself rolling along just fine and dandy ... things are going pretty well, other than the usual day-to-day hiccups. Then... BAM! You get smacked with a bunch of things at once? The kind of things that plant your feet firmly on the ground and bring you back to the reality of life.
There's a nasty flu bug going around, which (knock on wood!) I think we may have avoided. I've been giving the boys their daily vitamin and supplements, followed by a quick prayer that they remember to wash their hands well at school. The cousins have been knocked down by this bug, and Kate came down with it earlier in the week. It is not a virus to be taken lightly -- it will whip your butt if given the chance.
I have been on vigilant Lysol patrol, misting doorknobs, refrigerator door handles, remote controls, the phone, etc. Basically, if it cannot run from me, it gets disinfected. Germs fear me.
I got an email from a childhood friend, Missi, a few days ago with "horrible news" in the subject heading. That's never good. Seems one of our friends, Cory, committed suicide last week. Wow. Talk about reading something that takes the wind out of your sails for a few minutes. Not many details are known yet, but we all set out to notify other friends from high school. Sigh. I sat there, silent for a few minutes letting the news sink in. I felt overwhelming sadness. Then it occurred to me that I'd only seen Cory a total of about three times since we graduated 20 years ago. Two class reunions and a bachelorette party. How was it that I felt such a loss for someone I'd barely seen in two decades? I received a few more emails that night, one from another high school friend. He, unknowingly, answered my question. He wrote that no matter how scattered or removed we are from our hometown and the people there, they are -- and will always be -- part of who we are. He was so right. That town, those people... they helped form the foundation of the people we are today. Maybe we aren't in constant contact with everyone who hung out together in grade school/junior high/high school, but they are part of the fabric of who we've all become and the relationships we have today.
So, in remembering Cory, I will try not to focus on her tragic end. Rather, I will always remember her seemingly never-ending crush on John Hrapek in elementary school; riding the bus with her and Missi to school every day of junior high; being lab partners in sophomore chemistry, where we somehow decided we'd like to run for president/VP some day and came up with the slogan "'88 or '92! We don't care, it's up to you!" (OK, so we were a little off on the age requirement, being that we'd have only been 19 or 23 at the time of election. It was the thought that counted.) I will fondly remember my friend Pam and I being locker neighbors with Cory and Missi our senior year -- it's amazing how much drama and hilarity you can pack into 5-minute passing periods throughout the day. I will also never forget Cory, Missi and myself being the "chatty Bermuda Triangle" in creative writing class. And when we weren't chatting, driving Mr. Pinkerton crazy (in a good way), we would pass notes. They were hilarious. I kept them for many years, based on how re-reading them would make me laugh until I cried. I wonder if I might still have them. I will remember how much fun we had at Missi's bachelorette party in Chicago... and at our 10-year high school reunion.
The last time I saw Cory was a little over a year ago at our 20-year reunion. If she was sad/depressed at that point, I'd have never seen it. She was always laughing. And that's exactly how I want to remember her.
Goodbye, Cory. So many will miss you.
"I left my heart,... In Sam Clam's Disco..."