Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mr. Reid

Deb: My oldest friend in the world just lost her dad. I cried with her and worried for her as she drove home to see her Mom and her siblings during a fierce thunderstorm. She sounded controlled and resigned.

Then she wept and the sound killed me, cracking with the thunder, but so much smaller. 

Such is the stuff of Carol Ann Reid. I think it is fitting that she drove through a fierce thunderstorm.

Her Daddio, one George Reid, could appear to anyone like a fierce thunderstorm with his booming voice and his thick Scottish brogue. But he was really a soft Scottish toffee, a bold lover in love with the lovely Nan, with whom he was about to celebrate their 59th anniversary.

When I was a kid he was a daunting figure. Always kind and sweet, but with a boom of a voice that I laid in wait to hear lest I should act out. But it never came, this reprimand, however deserved. It came in the sound of the pipes, which he played with such skill and pride and passion that it breaks my heart that I did not realize the scope of it then. It was simply to me, a big big sound from a big big man. I would sit in awe with my best friend, his daughter Carol Ann at my side, listening to her Dad.


He would play and we would listen. Then he would smile and we would melt in his love.
He lived to love, and boy did he hit the jackpot. Nan, his loving devoted wife, Carol Ann, first born and the heart of my heart, Heather, Kirk, Craig, and Wendy. How I would love to travel back there and live those innocent memories.

I am heartbroken for you all tonight. Each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. George Reid has left us. And we are taking notice.

Barbara: I am so sorry for your loss, Deb, for your dear friend Carol Ann’s loss, for the loss borne by her entire family, and for the loss of another great man.

It’s funny this business of so many souls and so little time to know them all.

I often read those tributes in the paper to a stranger’s life lived––I don’t know why I read them exactly, I’m not morbid. But of course reading them leaves me with a profound sense of sorrow. It suddenly occurs to me that this (possibly morbid) urge comes from the unsettling sense of not knowing them. As if I ought to have known them. As if it was some mean hiccup in the fabric of the universe that prevented me from knowing them, and not a simple logistical reality.

It feels patently unfair that we can’t know them all. It feels not right somehow.

It must be that ancient tie we have to one another through our tribal roots. That long-ago ancestor deep within my soul wants to rear up and don the primitive mourning garb and ululate in unison with all of you. Another of our friends, of our tribe (and we are one tribe), has passed away.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about the lose of your friend Deb. He sounds like an amazing friend and person all around. My heart goes out to him and his family,and to you as well in hopes that it will become a little easier with in time.


  2. Sorry to hear about your friend's father, Deb. Will be lifting them up in prayer tonight.


  3. It is always so hard to see a friend lose a parent. Or for that matter a friend lose a friend and I, too agree there is not enough time to know everyone even though some of us try.

  4. Oh, Deb. Another death.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I will be thinking of your dear friend and her family as they grieve and learn to adjust to a new normal.

  5. Thanks Lyndsie, Kelly, Rigel and Madge. You guys are always there with love and support. It's that time of life for us right now. My past is being pulled out from under me. I know it's the way of life but it still hurts.

  6. I'm sorry for your loss, Deb, and your friend and family. I hope you all find the comfort you need to get through these next weeks and months.

    Barbara - I think that's a beautiful way express that pang of grief that happens when we hear of the death of a stranger. Deb writes of George in such a moving, affecting way, and it's hard to not have at least a slight pang of loss at the knowledge that there was an amazing, lovedly and loved man that I will not have a chance to know. Not that I ever would have, but where there was at least once potentiality, there's now just the small hollowness.

    (I see there's another Kelly. That's going to get confusing. Sorry, Other Kelly & others.)

  7. Deb--hugs to you! I have a couple friends' parents I feel that way about, so I really hear you. It is pretty amazing how many lives touch ours, and sometimes we never realize it until it's time to say good-bye.

    Barbara-so interesting. See, I find hope in those--yes, the world has lost someone wonderful, but I love the reminder that even the most ordinary of lives are truly special.

  8. Deb, so sorry to hear about your friend's dad. You and your friend's family will be in my prayers.

  9. "My past is being pulled out from under me"
    When you said that, Deb, it gutted me. Literally punched the breath from my lungs. Over the past handful of years, in rapid sequence, I've lost the last remaining people of one generation family (great-grandparents and their siblings) and the vast majority of the next generation (grandparents and their siblings). It also breaks my heart that my son will not have solid memories of so many of these relatives because they are such an important part of my childhood memories.

    Having grown up closely woven into a large extended family including loved ones ranging from great-great aunts to cousins-three-times-removed to 4th cousins not to mention being woven into the larger cloth of extended friendships and neighborhoods, it is disorienting to realize how many of them are gone. The only way I've figured out how to express it is to describe it as feeling cold because a warm blanket that's been wrapped around me my whole life is being taken away.

    Deb, whenever you announce yet another death in your circle of beloveds, I want nothing more than to figure out a way to spare you the pain and loneliness of that chill.

  10. Thanks Hart, Holly and Kelly 2! I love the support that I get from you guys. And Rigel, I thank you for your deep feelings that resonate to you in your son's life. I have accepted death as a concept but each time it happens, it's as if it was a huge shock to my being.

  11. Deb, I am so sorry to hear this. Carol Ann and her family are in my thoughts tonight. Hang in there.

  12. Deb, I don't know what to say that the others haven't already said (I'm just not good at this sort of thing), but I am sorry for your loss. Know that you, your lovely friend and her family will be in my thoughts tonight. If I were close enough, I'd give you hug, but I guess a virtual hug is the best I can do: ((((((Deb))))))

  13. So very sorry to hear your friend lost her father. She is blessed to have a friend like you to share in her grief. I know what it's like to lose a parent. Hugs to your friend Carol Ann.

  14. He will live on through all of your wonderful memories of him. Speak of him frequently and fondly. It really does help. I wish I had had someone like you as my friend when I lost my mom to cancer a couple of years ago. It's a tough thing to go through alone. I'm glad for you and Carol Ann that you have each other. Giant hugs to you both.
    Karen Frazier

  15. Thanks Shawn they can use all the good thoughts you can give. Funeral is today. April I love the (((DEB)))) Going to steal that one! Algonacchick I will give Carol Ann I hug just as soon as I see her! Sadly I am shooting today and only represented at the funeral by flowers. Karen you are so right. I agree that talking about the person keeps them so alive. Thank you all.

  16. "My past is being pulled out from under me." What a perfect way to say it, Deb. We are most definitely at "that age", and it sucks. It really does. I'm so very sorry for your loss. - Anne.

  17. I'm sorry for your loss, Deb. I just had an aunt who passed away recently- our family is still dealing with the grief. Hugs and condolences to you, your friend, and your friends' family.
    -Beth :)

  18. Yeah Anne it is that time of life isn't it? Sadly. But that's life. I am so sorry about your Aunt Beth and I offer you my deepest sympathy and peace for you and your family.

  19. There just aren't any words, are there, that really help. I'll just add two more hugs: one for you, and one for Carol Ann.


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