Carla, Jim….

Within 24 hours earlier this week came news of the death of two people I know: Carla, the sister of my brother-in-law; and Jim, a long-time friend.  Like each of us, Carla and Jim were unique, and I bid them farewell.

Carla, my age, I’ve known for over 50 years.  That entire time she lived in France, so I only saw her rarely, on special occasions like weddings, graduations, funerals….

Her brother, Carter, sent a few personal reflections to family: Carla and I grew up in a loving two parent family, in St. Paul, Minnesota, that being a north central USA location. I was three years younger, and we generally got along well. As an adult Carla grew to enjoy nature, especially the little things such as chipmunks, interesting rocks, animal tracks, and bird feathers. She also liked to meet people from other countries, traveling to both Israel and Uganda.  Of course, as she lived in Paris, she explored that city and was our tour guide when Florence and I would visit.  As she lived in a Paris suburb, we would often walk to a bus stop, and travel into the city where she would lead us to famous places, which we certainly enjoyed.  And then on the way back, we would stop at a local bakery to buy a couple of baguettes to accompany lunch back at her apartment. We would also sometimes rent a car, and traveled in France, Germany, and Switzerland. When visiting us, she enjoyed going for walks in town, but especially up to our cabin on the shore of a small lake.  There she would walk with us on forest roads, and explore the lake with us in a boat or canoe.

Unfortunately she became seriously confused with dementia which has led to her demise.  As her brother, I will miss her, but considering her severely diminished quality of life, I am glad her life has ended.

Jim, was a friend from teacher representation days, whose beat was 2nd graders, and was also active in his teacher union.

For years now, he’s lived on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.  I had last heard from him in a phone call a number of months ago.  I gathered he had been seriously ill, but no details.

His friend, Kiko, sent his farewell obituary, with a brief message:

Aloha Dick. 
Jim passed away peacefully in the hospital 2/12/23. 
He had a wonderful life he said. 

Molokai, Hawaii. I had sent this map to Jim May 3, 2022.

I wrote Kiko, in part:

I also had affection and fascination for Molokai, which I’d never actually visited.  Mostly, I think, this came from knowing about the Leper Colony and Fr. Damian, and in graduate school I did a paper about the island.  Somewhere in the residue of Jim’s life, he may have kept the paper!
We all have life stories.

As life goes on, there are ever more of these messages, all saying, without a word, that life is temporary, use it well.

Recently I received a “forward” that spoke wisely to this:  I share it again, here:  Inspiration from a friend
Also, this week: Potpourri.

COMMENTS (also see end of post)

From Leo: I noted the article about getting calls about people in your life passing to the “NEXT”.  The tough thing about our age are those calls….I have had five since the first of the year….”Leo, just wanted you to know that ……. passed yesterday….some came in the form of texts with details in emails.  Some were expected but some were not….you just have to brace up and accept the fact that someday the call will be about you…….

Off the subject a bit….I jokingly say that I always read the SILVER ALERTS that are posted on the highway message boards….to make sure they are not about me…..
Take care….Leo…

response from Dick: “Silver alerts” didn’t ring a bell with me in Minnesota.  Apparently they are common in areas with many seniors and relate to missing persons who have cognitive disabilities.  At my age that isn’t an abstract issue.  The phrase “losing my marbles” comes to mind.