Jan 21, 2013

Musing About Dying.

Isn't it strange how someone dying can make you think about so many things? I have yet to have someone super close to me pass away. We always lived far away from our grandparents when I was growing up so I loved them but was not close enough to them to feel overwhelmingly sad when they have passed away. A lot of people on the peripheral of my life have passed away. People I visit taught years ago, people I knew but was not close enough to be best friends with, people I knew for a few years when I lived somewhere but then we moved on and did not keep in touch. Sigh..... what am I getting at? Well this weekend my very first roommate from college passed away.

 Up until I went to college I obviously was just roommates with my sisters. So college was the first time I lived with someone outside of my family. I did not choose to room with someone I knew when I headed to BYU in 1986. Which means the resident assistants decided who I would live with according to a form I filled out about how neat I like to keep my room, how late I like to stay up, and what kind of music I like. Funny that those three questions pretty much can sum up who you are compatible with :)  When all the answers were compared I got paired up with Stacy Sneed from Norman, Oklahoma. We lived in Helaman Halls in May Hall in room 2123. We hit it off right away. I was so fascinated that she kept all her shoes inside the box they came in all stacked neatly in her closet. She had all colors of Keds and matching bandannas to go with them. She would roll her bandanna up and put it in her hair like a head band by tying it under her hair at the base of her neck. Then she would put on a pair of jeans and choose the pair of Keds that matched the bandanna in her hair to complete the outfit. We shared clothes. We stayed up late and talked. We tried to figure out boys. We ignored our homework the same amount. For the most part it was a great year. We sadly did not stay in touch after that first year at BYU. I did go to Stacy's wedding reception a few years later. And she and I ran into each other once at Lagoon amusement park in Utah sometime in the 1990's. Then Facebook came along and one day I received a friend request from her....good old Facebook :) We started exchanging Christmas cards but the friendship was obviously never the same as that first year at BYU.

Because we were Facebook friends her posts would come across my news feed and that is how I learned she had cancer. But I never knew what kind or how serious it was until this weekend when I learned she had passed away. I could not help myself when I saw the news and I immediately went to her Facebook page and was amazed at how it had become a memorial to her. I read post after post of memories and condolences for Stacy and her family. She left 5 kids and a husband behind. She lived a whole year fighting the cancer when she was only given 7 months to live. It always makes me wonder when I read what people remember about someone when they die what people will remember about me? What one memory will they choose to associate with my life and who I was? I didn't really know who Stacy was. We think we know who we are in college but we rarely do. She lived a whole bunch more of life after college and so did I and we are constantly evolving :)

I am not sure why this news has made me think about so many things and why it has hung over me all weekend but it has. Each life that touches ours teaches us something. Sometimes it is little things and sometimes it is big things. I keep my shoes inside shoe boxes in my closet to this day because of Stacy. I know all about how to roll up a bandanna to make a headband because of Stacy. Near the end of our first year of college Stacy made some choices that affected my life and helped me to learn that I was brave enough to stand up for something. Years later when she and I ran into each other at Lagoon she wrapped her arms around me and whispered a most heartfelt, teary "I am sorry" in my ear for the incident that we sadly ended the year on. Of course I had not dwelt on it and was immediately able to assure her it was more than fine. But she seemed relieved to have finally been able to say it to me. And I am so glad she got to.

I feel sad for the struggles her family will face because of their mom and wife's passing. I suddenly realize how young 44 is. I wish I was rich enough to just randomly fly to her funeral in Highland, Utah tomorrow even though no one would know who I was.

 It is curious to me that people only say good things about you when you die. We all have faults we all are dysfunctional in some way and I do not want people to  miraculously forget those facts when I die. Why do the bad things we have done immediately fade away and instantly everyone talks about all the amazing things we did and the great marriage we had and the perfect kids we had. Why do they remember those bad things and hold them against you when you are alive?  I worry about who will speak at my funeral. I worry about what song the person planning the funeral will think I want sung :) I am a silly goose I know :)

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