Saturday, March 11, 2017

Live Each Day Like it Might Be Your Last

Sandy and daughter, Ashley
Because someday it will be. . .

Last Saturday morning early I got a call from Charlie asking me to run over to his house and take care of his dog, Cheyenne. In the middle of the night, he was awoken by Sandy, his wife, who frequently kept late hours, who said she thought she might be having a stroke. By the time the paramedics arrived she was unconscious.

By the time Charlie called me, she had been flown to Washington Medical Center, where they diagnosed it an aneurysm, and told him the prognosis was poor. He had already contacted their daughters, Ashley and Kate, in Seattle and North Carolina, and they were both in the process of making arrangements to get to the hospital.

Later in the afternoon, he reported the girls were on their way, and the prognosis had been pronounced as terminal, only a question of time. The girls arrived late Sunday afternoon, and Sandy expired holding their hands that evening.

In her early adulthood, she served in the Peace Corps, in Turkey, and kept a lifelong connection to the country and the people she served, and served with. Her first career was in the D.C. public schools. In mid career, she went back to school and earned a PhD in English from Virginia Tech. She was a reader and a writer, and left behind an unfinished historical novel.

She was a highly political person, active in local democratic politics, a good liberal. I really mean that. She and I disagreed on so many issues we rarely talked about it, but her heart was always in the right place, even as I disagreed with her approach.

I met Charlie through fishing (and an internet fishing board) and they moved into our neighborhood sometime after 2000, and built their retirement house, overlooking the Bay, and conveniently close to the harbor where we both kept our boats. We socialized occasionally, and tended each others houses and gardens on trips.

I also served with Sandy on the local water board. In fact, it was she who thought to have me tapped as a potential board member for my knowledge of water chemistry. She served many years as Secretary/Treasurer, taking the minutes of the board meetings, and recording our proceedings, in an extremely exacting manner. It made my day when I could occasionally catch her in a grammar error and correct her. She was also the conscience of the board, trying to make sure our policies were the most fair to the residents we represent.

Her funeral service was held today, and I can only say I hope to impress half that many people. I had better start now.

RIP Sandy, you will be missed.

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