Bang! And one of the major rock formations that helped shape the swirling, winding river that is my life... is gone. In time, the ever-flowing waters will smooth over the jagged edges that are left behind, but the bend in the course will remain. And I will always remember. Always.
My parents bought their house right before I was born. Nearly forty years later, they still live there. When I was three, the Merrill family moved in three houses up and across the street. Although the children are grown, their parents still live there as well. Cole Merrill is three weeks older than I am, and we were raised as practically siblings. His family was my family, and vice-versa. We've all always been close - our moms, both teachers, are best friends, and we even used to all vacation together. Cole has a younger brother, but I was always the girl they never had. Of course, that all changed a month ago, when Cole and his wife Natalie welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Vivian Grace, into the world...
Bang! Cole's mom, Mary Jane Merrill, was killed in a car wreck Monday.
I got the news on Tuesday, and I'm still in shock. This isn't the way things are supposed to happen. She wasn't sick, or doing anything detrimental to her health or well-being. She wasn't a bad person. So far from it, in fact, that the most common thing said about Mary Jane is, "She is the nicest person I've ever known." A special education teacher for over 30 years, and active in her church and a number of service organizations, Mary Jane was constantly working to make the world a better place. So... why?
I don't know. And I don't suspect I ever will. But I do know that I thank God for getting me back to Kansas City over the New Year's holiday, and giving me a short while to visit with Mary Jane while I was there. I can still see her face and hear her voice. No longer just a memory, it is now a memory I cherish.
And I know that the next time I do something great - be it a simple random act of kindness, or something that truly changes the world - Mary Jane will be there. In my head, and in my heart... with me, always.
5 years ago