There’s been a lot going on… So, I’m putting up a group of posts at once.
- You might want to start here: What’s Going On? (Sing me some Marvin Gaye.)
- Chicken Hope Chest
- When Gardens Don’t Go As Planned
- End on a High Note: Relish Happiness
This Post: Loss
And on top of it all… there is still “routine” loss. Perhaps it stings even more because everything is so topsy turvy right now.
But loss is still here. Pandemic or not, the world still turns and people we love and care about still die.
I received an email a couple of weeks ago from my mother. It said:
“Just got a phone call from my best friend of 62 years yesterday, Sandy, barely able to talk called to say goodbye. Debbie, her daughter, called me Saturday night past to tell me she Sandy had ALS. Debbie still works in Homecare and has been given two mos. with pay to care for her down where they moved after selling their house and moved into an apt. down by her son Jimmy a few months back. Sandy was leaving the hospital to go home to Hospice she said. I cried, she said Lynne it’s ok, I’m going home and someday I’ll see you again. It was hard for her to speak but she wanted to talk for a few minutes. It’s hard to lose your best friend. We even joked for a minute. She said remember I was so jealous of your pretty legs. I said Sandy, you and your blonde hair and so bouncy and giggly. We laughed. She’s in the last stages and hopes it won’t be long she said as she doesn’t want it to drag on for her children…”
Two days later, I received this text:
“Uncle Allen passed away last night about 10:51. I made a quick attempt around 8 pm to talk to the floor nurse last evening and gave her our phone number. I had found out from the sister in Oregon that Lorrie her sister in AZ got through to them she was coming anyway. She arrived Tuesday stayed overnight they finally let her in the hospital. Then knowing she was there I called floor nurse gave her her our phone number to give to her. She called and your dad got on the phone and she put it to uncle Allen’s ear and your dad told him I love you and hang tight. She said he acknowledged he heard him. I thanked her. Your dad couldn’t say more. We were heading to bed when we got the message…”
That same week I opened the alumni magazine that came in the mail.
While browsing, I found this entry in the In Memoriam section:
My heart stopped for a moment when I read about Dr. Evans-Corrales’ passing. She was my first university advisor. I still remember our very first conversation over two decades ago and the prediction she made for me (which came true). She was a kind, kind woman – passionate, intelligent, curious, talented.
Dr. Evans-Corrales inspired me to spend the better part of the summer one year in Salamanca, Spain, where she had lived for a year as a young woman. She was my Spanish professor at the university, and even though I was FAR from a star student in her class (I have no talent for learning languages), she was always encouraging and had such a positive attitude about my ability (er, lack of ability). We had many conversations in which I shared personal and private triumphs and troubles, and I appreciated her wisdom. She genuinely cared. Dr. Evans-Corrales’ passing isn’t just sad, it robs those who knew her of a such a special spirit that could make even dark times light up with hope.
Heartbroken, I did a quick Google search for an obit. At the top of the search returns, I saw a link to a book she wrote, a memoir called Talking Girl. A link to book her book is here – this is NOT an affiliate link.
I ordered it immediately. I know a bit – a tiny bit – of Dr. Evans-Corrales’ life story just from our conversations. A fascinating life of a curious mind and adventurous spirit. But I’m sure I only know a fraction. I am eagerly waiting to “hear a story” from my beloved professor once again.
A Loss, for certain. But in reading these words, I want to Celebrate Carys Evans-Corrales.
From That Summer In Spain
I remember Dr. Evans-Corrales specifically telling me not to bring jeans, but to wear colorful skirts. I’m sure she was remembering her time in Salamanca, and the vibrant life she experienced. (I missed my jeans and bought a pair when I headed off to Ireland for a whirlwind week.)
“Me gustaria el vino tinto, por favor.” At the plaza major in Salamanca, my daily visit.
Casa de las Conchas, Salamanca
In La Alhambra outside Granada – my favorite place during the cross-country Spain tour.
The view from my dorm room in Salamanca, Spain.
As I typed out this blog post, I suddenly thought, maybe I should title it Celebration rather than Loss. But in the end, I kept it as is.
Right now, it’s best if when faced with loss – my mother’s best friend Sandy, my father’s brother, and my professor who so strongly impacted my life – that we turn that Loss into a Celebration of their lives and the memories they helped us create.
Adios, mi querida profesora, y muchas gracias.
So sorry for your week of losses, Tracy. It sure does help us put into perspective what is important in life. Sending virtual hugs, my friend.
Thanks, Cindy. I didn’t really know my uncle. It’s probably been a decade or two since I’ve seen him. They lived out west. But I feel for my father.
My professor Dr. Evans-Corrales made such a positive impact on my life. She was a kind woman.
I’m sorry to hear of the passing of these close people in your life. You are right. You could have easily titled this post Celebration. Your mom’s best friend (62 years of friendship is worth celebrating!), your Uncle Allen and a professor who inspired and challenged you…these are people worth celebrating. Thank you for sharing a little bit about them here.
Thank you, Bekah. I was my heart broke for my mother losing her friend, felt sad for my father – I have no idea when he last saw his brother, but when I opened the alumni magazine and saw that my professor had passed, I cried. Sometimes it just really hits you. But I am excited to read her book – it still hasn’t been delivered. I feel like I will get to know so much more about her, and that gives comfort.
I’m sorry for all the loss. It is hard but like Bekah said, a 62 year friendship is absolutely amazing! And the memories of your advisor! Priceless. Definitely lives worth celebrating. xoxo
Thank you, Kristin!
I hadn’t seen my father’s brother in years (that side of the family isn’t close), but I did meet him and he and his (also recently passed) wife seemed very nice. I feel sad for my father, though. My mother’s best-friend Sandy (who was also a sweet woman) is in hospice down somewhere in PA with family now. I know it’s hard for my mother to know that the end is near for her friend. I don’t think she’s seen her since Christmas. 🙁
My professor Dr. Evans-Corrales was such a special woman. I will always “hear” her heels clicking quickly down the hall on her way to class and the lilting (yes, it really was lilting) way she spoke Spanish with her still slightly British accent.
Hi Tracy, The Celebration of Life for Sandy is next Saturday. I got some pictures for Debbie for the wall I mentioned to you, and one of her and I, probably the last one together at a birthday party maybe for your dad years ago. I miss her. I will give Debbie any pictures I find of us as I am going through them slow now but decided it’s time to give you children some if you like. Mike and Laura are coming for Christmas this year and will go through albums also. I may read your professors book also when things slow down here. She was a sweet lady and I enjoyed knowing her as you were our connection. She always asked about you each time. Mom