Community

For the past twenty hours or so, my mind has been with one person that I probably have not thought about in probably 20 years.  Not out of malice or because of an issue, but simply because she and I while we knew each other by sight in college, probably would not recognize each other today if we were to pass in an airport.

She lost her husband, suddenly and without warning. They have young children. There isn’t anybody to rage against or yell at: it was “one of those things.” When I close my mind I can see her as a college sophomore with a smile on her face. I haven’t seen her since then but the community that forms out of Hollins never ceases to amaze me.

I did the “normal” post-modern thing of sending her a Facebook message and expressed my sympathy.  What I saw on her wall was amazing: names of women I haven’t heard/thought of for years doing the same. We are sorry for your loss: know we are here for you.

I remember a few things from my orientation: one was being told that these would be my friends for life. What do you know when you are 17? Very little. I remember hearing it again at graduation and being told we were leaving but the community would remain and thinking, huh? (pre internet era!).

I’ve run into a few alumnae from a few different decades on airplanes since I graduated. The community does remain. There is a common link; the traditions, the changes, the quirks. And for a moment yesterday, I remembered somebody at 19 (including the fashion) and thought she doesn’t deserve this. Nobody does.

I hope she and her family can feel the strength, love and support in the day, weeks, months and years to follow. I know she will smile again, and laugh again without guilt. But for today, I simply wish I could hand her a magic wand, for the one last conversation I know she wishes she could have.

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