Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mrscatinthehat, May 21, 2009.

  1. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I went to relax with the newspaper a bit ago and laughed whole heartedly about the girl who made her prom dress out of duct tape (a whole new concept).

    Then I came to the obits. I always look to see if it is someone I know or a relative of someone I know so that I can do the proper thing and extend my sympathies.

    Tonight I came across a name from my childhood. As soon as I saw the name I had a brief flash of memories and decided I had to investigate if it was the person that had came to my mind.

    As a child there was a woman that I saw walking across the street from me. I looked at my dad and asked who it was. As a child I knew everyone on our block and they all knew me (it was one of those kind of neighborhoods) so I was confused as to who the person was walking across the street. She had long dark hair done in pigtails down her back and she bobbed from side to side as she walked. When she had set eyes on me she waved. That was when I had asked my dad who she was. He told me it was J. I knew the name because I had received cards from this person on valentines and christmas. I didn't know that it was a grown up because the writing was more child like than my own. So of course my next question was where she came from. He told me that she was visiting her parents and pointed to their house and that she lived in the "county home". Of course as a young child I did not know what that meant. So I just smiled and waved back. I got cards from her for several years until we moved out of town. I had always been set down and made to send cards back. I had no idea that I had been corresponding with someone with a mental illness. When I had gotten older I had asked dad about her. He didn't know what was "wrong" with her just that she had gotten too difficult for her parents to care for.

    I have not thought about her in many years. Then I see the name tonight in the paper. Of course I could not remember what her parents names were so I got out an old city directory ( I have them for genealogy) and checked out their name and it was the same as the people that had lived across the street from me as a kid. I looked at the age of the person who had passed away and could not believe that she was 74. I don't remember that the person that waved at me looked older than my dad. She seemed young even to my child mind.

    I sit here on the verge of tears for someone I barely knew but have a fond memory of because of those cards she sent. I sit here thinking that was my first encounter of mental illness and didn't even know it. It was also my first encounter where parents had to seek an alternative for their child. And obviously it didn't bother my dad as he encouraged the acquaintance. Which since my dad never met the difficult children (he died before I married this husband) I know he would have been supportive of things unlike so many others in my family.

    I hope I can leave work for a bit tommorow so I can go to the visitation. I just want to pay my respects to her siblings (that which I never knew). Strange how someone that touched my life so long ago and had been relagated to the back of my memory can bring such strong feelings.

  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    It's the seemingly little things that make the biggest impact in our lives. It sounds like J had a beautiful heart. May she rest in peace.

  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I hope you're able to go to the visitation. Kindness is a wonderful thing, and it sounds like J knew that.
  4. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Aww, Beth. You probably had a bigger impact on her life than you know, as she did for you. Enjoy the memories.

  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{Beth}}} I'm so sorry for your loss. It's good that J. had a friend in you... even if you were so young. And you're right in that I'm sure your father would have been very accepting of the difficult children. {{{Hugs}}}
  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I too was impacted by people that briefly passed through my life as a child.

    You are so kind and respectful to go the visitation.
    What a good heart you have.

    Hugs and love,
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{Beth}}} It's wonderful that you have this fond memory of this woman. Your post brought me to tears - I'm so glad you're going to try and make it to the service, that's just a wonderful thing to do. And God Bless your dad for being so open and kind and having you correspond with her as a girl. I think that was a blessing for both you and the young woman. Hugs, Beth
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Beth, I'm so sorry for your loss.
    I too hope that you're able to attend the visitation. I think your fond memories of J, your kindness to her and hers to you was wonderful, and it may help her family as they grieve her passing.

    And your dad sounds like a treasure. The world needs more like him.

  9. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    Wow, I am sitting here with chills reading your post. I think it is great that you will be going to the visitation, I bet her sibs would like to hear your story. Those type of stories really help those who are in mourning!
    Hugs, Vickie
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I just had a similar conversation with someone. What I got out of my conversation was that no one comes into our lives without reason. No one. It may be such a seemingly insignificant reason - but even people you meet in the store, at the gas pumps, in the kids' school - all for a reason.

    Sometimes people come into our lives and stay just for a while. I never considered that I may be the someone that someone else learned anything from or their reason. It always seemed like I met them and they had a purpose in my life. lol

    So that's the neat thing about this - you were both put into each other's lives for a reason. I wonder how she must have enjoyed getting cards back from you and what it did to brighten her day. I also think that your Dad must have taught you tolerance at a very early age and I think it's just the neatest thing you had NO idea that she was mentally ill. I like people who don't lable people. FOr everything else - there's a neat little machine with white strips - lol

    Thanks for sharing - Hope you get to attend the funeral.
  11. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I am very glad I made the time to go. Origianlly they asked if I was someone that worked at the facility that she had been in. I explained that I had gotten the cards and such and where I lived. The one brother looked at me and put his hand down next to his knee and said you were only that big back then. All three of the siblings seemed so surprised that I had come but they all knew who I was when I had told them.

    She looked as I had remembered her except no pig tails and the hair was now gray not dark.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I am so glad you went and shared your memories with her siblings. That sort of thing is gold to the families at such a time.