Saturday, May 10, 2014

Because I Am Thinking of Her: Lois Minto and the Laughter We Shared. AYear Ago Today

Dear Lois,

A year ago today, Pam called me in the early morning and told me you were rushed to the hospital. Luis found you on the floor and my first reaction was you must have slipped on your bra that Luis and I were playing catch with the night before. Pam wasn't laughing, though. She said, "Bryan, this isn't good."

I jumped in my car to be with Luis and then, a little later, to pick up Kaitlyn so we could get to the hospital. The hours there are etched, permanently, in my lived experiences and I will never be the same man again. It was too soon and it was totally unexpected, although you prepared us daily that the time would one day come. You had a wisdom about this world that transcends the spiritual ways the rest of us know. It is a characteristic I admired most in you.

Everyday this week I have been thinking of this day, knowing it was coming and a 365 day anniversary would be upon us. Dr. Byron Pigley Krudell is still the manic, zany, over-committed madman that you worked so tirelessly to harness. You dedicated all you had to the Connecticut Writing Project-Fairfield and me. I feel your presence in everything I do.

It doesn't make any of it easier, but I am comforted by your peace. Knowing my older sister put her dog, Rocky, down yesterday, I couldn't help but smile. Instantly I had an image of you greeting him with your dog, Frankie, and The Great Whatever at your side. "Come with us," you said to my sister's dog. "I am the dog lady up above. You will enjoy our company."

I am grading. It is the time of year for such work, but I am also sending love to you. In the teaching world now, it is the time of year for hysteria, frustration, exhaustion, and mania. As I've walked through schools this week, I channeled your calm, beautiful ways. I acted as a source of inspiration and hope, rather than a monster, as I reminded teachers this is perennial paranoia that comes with the profession - where everyone is at wit's end and at each other's throat.

Some of my students from Kentucky called me this week, too, and wanted to reminisce about their high school experience and the inevitable changes that arrive from growing up and getting smarter. They wondered why so much has to change and they reminded me of my choice to leave the school. Their voices brought back memories that I cherish and, reflecting upon them, I grew somewhat sad. Still, I remembered that in sadness there is also joy. I have a responsibility to feel as much joy as I possible can.

This morning I am thinking of Emilia, too, Julie's beautiful addition to the Saad/Bershefsky family (born a day before my birthday). You left in 2013, but she came as a wonderful miracle who is bringing happiness to your family. I am sure you are already looking over her.

I continue to be a better man because of you.
I emptied my pockets and counted the L's I gathered up that day to make sure I had enough. There were exactly 33, the age when Jesus died. Was is just coincidence? Maybe, but I believe it truly is a message of Love from God. And so each of you reading my little ILY story now have a symbol of God's Love from me to you. Keep it where you can be reminded of God's Love for all of us no matter who you are or where you are in life.


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