Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Loss

I got another one of those calls last night. Just like that call that came January 5 to tell us about Jimmy's plane crash. This time it was my friend. Tragic circumstances.

Thank goodness Bill is home today working in the yard with the kids because I am walking around with my mind in a daze and constant tears. I sit here trying to think of how I'm going to tell them about their friend.

You see, Stephanie and I have known each other almost since we were born. Our birthdays are 5 weeks apart and we met when I moved to the neighborhood in July of 1973. I had just turned one (we literally moved ON my first birthday) and she was lived down the street. Steph's mom, Connie, and my mom became best friends and still are today. We used to trick-or-treat together.

Stephie moved a few years later, but our families still kept in touch. I used to love to go to their house in Perry. It had a great yard and lots of room to run and play.

You remember that Duran Duran concert? The one where my Dad drove us and sat in the parking lot in a giant snowstorm? Steph and Connie were with us.

In high school and college we didn't keep in touch much, but I always knew what she was up to since Connie and my mom remained close.

Steph was at my wedding shower, my wedding, my baby shower. She held my kids when they were just days old.

 She would come over with her mom and my mom and babysit for us. She cleaned up my kids "kitty barf" the night my mom gave one of them too much candy. My kids loved her and she them. She has pictures of them all over her office and house.

We bumped into each other at Old Navy in December. We talked about getting together some Friday for lunch when the weather got better. What were we waiting for and why should the weather have stopped us? Regrets, I've had a few. Add that one to the pile.

I sit and think of how I'm going to explain this to my kids. Steph,along with her two beloved cats, died from carbon monoxide inhalation from a kitchen fire. The fire put itself out and no one knew anything until the next day when she didn't show up for Easter dinner.

Ironically, for the past few weeks my kids have been into talking about fire safety. They know stop-drop-roll, call 911, feel the door before opening, they have a ladder in their room, we check the batteries in our smoke detector and they know the family meeting spot outside. Nolan worries about fire and sometimes at night asks me if we will ever have a fire in our house.

There is a lesson here, but I have no idea how to teach it through the pain.

Yesterday while we were cooking dinner, some bread got left under the broiler for too long and the alarm went off. Nolan was heading for the door until we reassured him that it was OK to stay in the house. Maybe that was Steph on her way to the other side, stopping by one more time to say goodbye.

Friends, and you all are my friends if you are reading this.....please check the batteries in your smoke detector. If you don't have one, call your local fire dept. Ours will come and install them for you FOR FREE. They will even give you reminder calls to check your batteries. No one needs to go through this pain.

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