Sunday I got a letter. It came on Saturday but we didn’t check the mail.
The letter started off saying how they had checked with my alma mater, and a place I used to work, to make sure I wasn’t a stalker or a crazy person. Wow. I’ve been investigated for possibly being a stalker.
12 years ago a friend of mine died. We weren’t close friends, but we’d known each other for a semester. I remember her every year on E’s bday, because that’s when I found out she died. (Bad news travels fast. That was the day she died. Or maybe they told me she died that day and that’s what I remember. I didn’t write down when I found it out.)
I wanted to write her folks, but we were living in another state. I had two babies to take care of. Lots of excuses that mean I didn’t do it. I didn’t know their address, so I couldn’t have written without doing some investigation.
In recent years, I have wanted to send them pictures. I have some pics we took at a slumber party. They’ve probably never seen them. No, I know they hadn’t. And I thought that I would want to see them if she’d been my daughter.
I looked her up in the online alumni base for our college. No one with her first name was listed.
I couldn’t remember her last name.
Then, about two months ago, I was translating my old journals from WordPerfect to MSWord. And there was a note about her coming to dinner, with her last name included!
I looked her up online. Our college has a scholarship in her name. Her HS has a scholarship in her name. And her grandmother’s obit was on the net.
The obit listed her and two sets of folks who could have been her parents. But I remembered she lived around DFW and I looked up her folks’ names. Nothing. Then I put in just her dad’s name and the city and their address and phone number turned up.
I didn’t want to call someone out of the blue whose daughter had been dead a dozen years. So I wrote them a letter. It was handwritten (Silly me. I should have made a copy.) and two pages long. I mailed it.
Then her dad called, without a number on my phone, while my niece was running away from the beagle and my son was yelling. I thought he was a salesman, so I was short. Then he said he was her dad and I couldn’t talk because I was swallowing tears.
We talked for a few minutes, after I explained that I’d thought he was a solicitor, and he said they would like to have the pictures.
I went and made copies of them at Kinko’s. Then I came home and typed a three page letter, putting in every single thing I could remember about her.
I didn’t hear from them again. It was okay. We weren’t friends or anything. I really just wanted to make sure they got the pics.
Then I got the letter from her mom. It was three pages long, handwritten, on pretty stationery. It told how she had died. I had heard a boating accident, but not the details. I wondered, but I didn’t want to ask. It also told me that her sister and brother are alive. I didn’t remember she had siblings, though I am thrilled she did. I am sure it is never easy to lose a child, but it seems like if you have others to concentrate on, you can’t spend your whole life wishing for the one you lost.
But her brother was in the boat with her. He was “swimming in her blood” after they got hit. She was dead and he, a teenager, was trying to pull her into the boat and get help for her.
He lost his faith in God.
His mother asked me to pray for him. I wish you would too.