Thursday, July 21, 2011

I don't get it

I keep thinking that if I read enough of the news articles online, I will find one that says it didn't really happen. That my sweet, spunky friend and 3 beautiful little girls weren't really lost. That a doting father and husband wasn't really left here without them. That roads don't fail because too much snow or rain falls.

I can't find the article that says that.

Instead, Googling "Laurel Constantinides" finds nearly 500 articles, most of which state the facts of what they call an unspeakable tragedy. A few of those articles touch on the big hearts and kindness that this family possessed. But none of them remember exactly the Laurel that I remember because in every life she touched, she left something special and unique behind.

She loved tea. And sunflowers. She had this big personality in this little, bitty body. She was so sweet and smart and kind and insightful, but she could get mad, and a little sullen, too. But mostly, she smiled and was always up for a bit of fun (or a grand adventure if the opportunity presented itself). She was spontaneous and crazy and had the best stories. She laughed a lot and she always had some wisdom or insight that was totally appropriate for all of those emotional situations one finds themselves in as a college student.

I met her when I was going through sorority rush at the University of Wyoming and I can't count the number of times we laughed and cried together on thousands of fingers and toes. She slept on the floor in my room in the sorority house when I had a bad breakup - I went with her to take some things back to the ex-boyfriend after she had a bad breakup (let it be noted that he and she both came to their senses some years later and ended up married!). We cried at the end of the semester when we parted and we glared over our shoulders at each other after a particularly dramatic summer together in a rented apartment. I called her La, she taught me to crochet, we sang Billy Joel songs together, we planned how we were going to be cool, old ladies with our silver hair, our sharp wit and our stylish clothes. She put her extra money into mutual funds (who does that at 20years old!?!?) and I spent my extra money on beer. We thought we might move to Ogallala, NE for a summer just because the name was cool. We grew up, we left the Pi Phi house behind. She read a Bible verse at my wedding, I sent her some of my daughter's clothes when Hannah came and she modeled patience and solid parenting when I visited her in Colorado Springs with my particularly cranky child.

Although we came to the point where time and distance separated us, we kept in touch via Facebook - I loved seeing her posts and pictures of her sweet, funny girls and got nostalgic when she told me she missed me if I posted about a particularly crazy adventure. She gave me a list of fostering and adoption books when I needed help for a friend and she inspired me with her ability to be a grown-up but still be a little funky with her cool clothes, her dyed hair, her pink bike and her VW camping van. I loved seeing Alex's Facebook pictures and posts about his beautiful girls - every time I saw one, I thought how happy I was that Laurel had ended up with such a wonderful man to be her husband and a father to those girls.

It is inconceivable to me that I won't see her at Homecoming or a Pi Phi reunion one of these years. That her three girls don't have the chance to grow into adulthood - Laurel would have been the best grandma ever.

I don't dare go through pictures or old letters or think too hard about those times shared years ago because I know my heart won't be able to take it right now. Laurel was a rock to me during the years that I was far from home and learning how to navigate through this world. I never imagined life without her in it.

I am no doubt one of a zillion people whose life Laurel touched in a positive and profound way. There will no doubt be a zillion people at the memorial services and my stories and memories will blend in with all the rest. But I feel profoundly blessed to be one of those to have stories and memories that I can hold on to...for all of those who didn't know Laurel in this life, just look for a bright, shining light in the next - believe me when I say you don't want to miss knowing this one.

Rest in peace, Laurel. You will be missed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I can immediately hear the frenetic music (Billy Joel, of course) when I think of this song. It feels like that music has been the background music for my life for the past few months and I would welcome a calmer tune. I just can't seem to get my life slowed down to a comfortable pace - maybe this is the nature of this season of my life. Or maybe I am just a bad manager of time. I am betting on the latter.

I have a million things I should be doing (like reviewing library director applications or grading class stuff) instead of blogging, but an old classmates recently started blog reminded me what good therapy blogging is for me. To take some time to do something that I do only because I WANT to is something I don't do often. Unless you count the hours of my life lost to Facebook...But I digress...

We had a good couple of months. A trip to Wyoming, visits from all of the parents, a canoe trip, some time to enjoy the pool and another good health report for me. But, good Lord, I have been busy, frazzled, stressed. And things aren't looking to slow down so I better figure out how to manage it.

Bryn is headed for public school next year. The reasons are many, but generally uncomplicated. Suffice it to say we have decided that paying for a less than stellar education jam-packed with a heavy dose of Christian judgment didn't seem like a good idea for us anymore. The pastures may not be greener on the other side but maybe my kid will be able to focus on something besides whether or not her evolution-believing parents are doomed to a very hot eternity.

Library director applications are in and we are reviewing them tonight. The thought of many interviews and the organization that will require makes me tired, but I am hopeful we can secure the right candidate and have a happy ending to this process.

The library budget for next year is under fire from the city. Not easy to deal with when there is no director. I must admit I kind of feel like the council needs to go pick on someone else who has someone in charge besides a bunch of volunteer board members.

Bryn heads to camp this weekend. We haven't even started packing.

Grant is not at all on board with potty-training. Not only is he not on board, he protests the process loudly and violently - basically the way he reacts to just about everything. Very tiring. I think I need a couple dozen nannies to take care of this child-rearing thing for me.

I feel good and my most recent lab reports were great, but I am currently frustrated with a slight uptick in my blood sugars due to a decrease in my meds. Although still within normal range, I want them to be the perfect readings of a non-diabetic. Too bad that isn't ever going to happen for me - I get to hope for a really LONG hold before what I pray will be a SLOW decline. Ahhhhhh...the joys of chronic illness.

There is a whole list of other exciting stuff going on - starting a food pantry at church, the new Harry Potter movie, 12th anniversary, high school reunion. I better work on my time-management and "being-in-the-moment" skills or I am bound to miss it all! I am working on that background music in my head- surely there is a slower tune I can get stuck on.