caitlin H (caitlin45) wrote,
caitlin H

Monday, December 4, 2006

Time: 6:20 AM

Current Mood: Sad

Current Music: Me Typing


I figure it's about time I do an update, but it actually is going to be a rather sad one. I mean, I have some good stuff to tell you, but it just seems rather trivial at the moment.

It seems like all these people I know are dying. One was older, but two are young, very close to my age. The oldest, of course, is Floyd, the photographer from my Choir outside of school. I'll talk about him a little first.

Floyd, obviously, came to most Chorus events to take pictures, which I, also obviously, never really knew much about. But Floyd was about so much more than pictures. He played Bingo with us at Chorus Camp almost every day at Break. I remember when I was a new camper, and wanted to play Bingo, but only one other person was playing. It was a really little kid (I was at Level 3 Camp), and they needed help as much as I did (me not being able to read the Bingo cards). So Floyd took it upon himself to not only spin the Bingo wheel thing and call out the numbers, but to check both of our cards and help us move the little windows. How many people do you know who would do that? Most people I know would have said, "Wait until more people come along," or "Go play something else." But Floyd understood that we both wanted to play, and he was willing to take the extra time to make it happen.

At that same camp, one of the activities was to go up to the Dome and play Hockey. Of course, I trailed into the class with the rest of the kids, but wasn't at all surprised when I was dumped unceremoniously into a chair on the sidelines. Being only twelve, I probably had a sulking expression on my face as I listened to my fellow students cavorting around with the hockey sticks. I had been sitting there for only a few minutes when I felt a hand on my shoulder,, and looked up.

"Why the long face?" Floyd asked in his friendly voice.

"Oh, I don't know," I said, caught off guard. "It's okay, I just ..."

"Why aren't you playing hockey?"

"Well, I wouldn't know how ... I mean, I ..."

Floyd laughed and leaned down to me. "Do you think anyone here knows how to play? I bet you're better than all of us."

I gave him one of my famous "yeah, right" expressions, topping it off with a shrug. He laughed, and drew me to my feet. "Come on. At least give it a try."

We walked to where the kids were playing hockey. "Someone get Caitlin a hockey stick," Floyd commanded in his grandfatherly way.

I sensed some of the kids giving me sidelong, doubtful glances, and I just smiled bravely, like I busted into hockey games every day of my life. Someone gave me a stick, and from that point on, it was a team effort. Way too many little girls for comfort were itching to help me aim my stick, still more were chasing the puck and getting it right into my field, and even more were screaming from the sidelines about which direction to aim the stick. Floyd cheered loudest of all.

I never forgot that day at Choir Camp. Not just because I played Hockey, which was lots of fun,, but because there are always those times in a kid's life when they feel left out, and feel like they can't do something adequately. Most often, those feelings go unnoticed and unchanged. To some, it was just a hockey game, but, to me, at the "tender age of twelve," it was something that set me apart, and made me feel awkward. It takes a special person to read into situations, step in and make a difference. Floyd knew how to do that.

I'm singing at Floyd's funeral today; it's going to be sad, but worse for people who knew Floyd better than I.

Moving on. ... The second person who died was my age, and I didn't actually know her at all, but I know her through a good friend. Rebecca L lived in Nova Scotia, and was good friends with Canadian Kaitlyn, as we affectionately call her. Rebecca, who, like Kaitlyn and I, happens to be blind, committed suicide, and left a note for her loved ones. I won't go into details, in part because I don't really know that many, but mainly because I didn't even know Rebecca. But I had a long talk with Kaitlyn yesterday, and she told me how nice a girl Rebecca was, and how close the two of them were. We discussed the fragility of life, and how scary it is that it just ends for some people, whether they choose it or not.

I heard about Rebecca at 3:00 PM or so, went out to dinner, and came home to FaceBook, as usual. While on there, I saw that Charley M had written to Angela M (not related) to tell her that Mrs. W, who most of us had for seventh grade Science, was in a car accident, and was now in a coma. On top of that, Mrs. W's daughter, Dani, was dead.

Dead? Dani? She was only a senior in high school, a year older than me, and during our time in middle school, we had actually been pretty close. I hate it when people say, "Oh, I knew her so well ... it's so awful," and they really hardly knew the person. I don't pretend to have known Dani well, but what I did know about her meant a lot.

I don't really remember when I first met Dani, but one of my first memories of her was, again, when I was around the "tender age of twelve." Derek and I were set to be in the talent show, and were in the "pre-backstage area," which was actually the Art classroom. Anyway, some of the older girls had said I needed makeup, and so they were about to attack my face with the stuff. I, of course, being totally anti-makeup, was doing my best to whine my way out of it, and fend them off. But just then, a friendly hand closed around mine, and Dani said, "Caitlin, it's Dani W, Mrs. W's daughter ... I'll do your makeup, okay? I promise you won't look like a clown."

I loved Mrs. W--she was an amazing science teacher--and I could hear her kind tones mirrored in Dani's voice. So I submitted, and let Dani expertly make up my face. I instantly felt at ease with Dani; she was kind, helpful, clever, and equipped with a wicked, raucous sense of humor. She had a creative streak a mile long, and a loving streak a mile longer. She loved calling everyone pet names, I learned, as she laid down the eyebrow pencil for the third time and said, "Caitlin, Precious, stop laughing ... I can't get your brows on straight!"

Dani was one of those people who made you feel good about yourself, often when you were at your worst. I remember at one Talent Show, the microphones weren't on, and I had been the first one to sing. I was crushed that I hadn't been able to sing as well as I would have liked. In typical Dani fashion, Dani sneaked up behind me, took my chin in her hands, and said, "You're beautiful, dear, and we could all hear you anyway. You still rock my world!"

Dani was always doing little things to make people happy. Often, like with the hockey game, things that might appear insignificant to one person were enormous to another. When I was in eighth grade, I had another special time with Dani. Being a year older than I, Dani was a freshman in high school, but she came back to the Middle School Talent Show. Derek and I were again sitting in the Art room, when I felt a pair of hands lock gently around my eyes. "Guess who?" Dani sang, but not in the cruel or annoying way Derek and I have grown to hate so much. She had an extremely distinctive voice, and she knew it; even after a year of not hearing her, we would remember.

"Dani!" I screamed, and jumped up. She gave me a big bear hug, and I remember, even now, how she stopped hugging me and put her hands on my shoulders, and looked directly into my face. "You look older, missy," she said to me. "Those boys are gonna be chasing you."

"Riiiight," I smirked.

Derek and I, totally hyped with stage fervor, were giddy and unruly, as usual. Dani, again, in typical Dani fashion, chatted with us about this and that, and then taught us a new hand game. I don't know what it's called, but it involves one person placing their hands palms-up, and the other person resting their hands palm-down over the first person's hands. Then, the palms-up person, whose hands are on the bottom, bobs their hands around underneath, pretending to lift their hands over the top. After awhile of bluffing, the bottom person would bob their hands on the pretense of faking, and then flip their hands and slap the person's hands on top. The top person was supposed to get their hands out of the way before they got slapped; they had to know which moves were fake, and which were real. Also, it didn't always have to be a double slap. One hand could be faking, while the other hand slapped, or crossed over to slap the other hand. Derek and I had a ball with it, making Dani close her eyes, claiming she was cheating, shouting at one another, etc. I can still hear Dani's teasing voice, asking, "Are you ready? ... Are you ready? ..." as she bobbed her hands under mine, and I wriggled with anticipation to dart out of the way.

Eventually, Derek and I had to go outside to wait beside the stage doors for our cue to go on. I still remember walking with Dani. She had one bouncing blindie on each side, and she was loving it. I remember, clear as anything, just prancing along, holding her hand in that comfortable way I reserve for people I really adore or trust (I usually slip my arm through people's, or hold the elbow, if I'm feeling super formal). But I held Dani's hand, at that moment, because I was utterly content, because she made me happy, and because she was everything I wanted to be: boisterous, pleasant, fun, amusing, talented, loved, and a comfort, pleasure and help to others. As do most middle school kids, I looked up to many different people, but I realize now, as I reflect on it, how much I looked up to Dani, how much I unconsciously wanted to emulate her. In those brief instances when our lives intersected, I admired her with something I can only describe as vivacity.

As I waited with Derek outside, both of us shrieking and hopping around like mad, me jumping, Derek spinning, Dani guided our hands to a pole, and instructed us to chase one another around it. Screaming with laughter, we did so, and Dani joined right in. And as I ran around that pole, I felt light and care-free as anything. And shortly after, when Dani led us up the stairs and propelled us onstage with a "You can do it!", I felt like I believed her.

Another time I saw Dani was when she scheduled a surprise party for our mutual friend, Jenn D, who is also visually impaired. I remember sitting in Jenn's backyard with a bunch of Jenn's and Dani's friends, drinking my first-ever root beer float, and laughing with the girls because I was so deprived as to have never tasted one.

It developed that Jenn knew Dani through Job's Daughters, an organization for young girls to reach out to the community. The last time I saw Dani was when she was crowned Queen of her Bethel. I remember little about the ceremony, and still less about what Dani and I said to each other. I just remember the hustle and bustle, and I remember my pride in her, and my ever-present ambition to be as successful as she was. Almost like a little sister, I tracked her from afar, keeping an ear open for her name.

And then I hear this. And I think of all the things that remind me of Dani: February 10 (her birthday), the word dulces (part of her screen name), the song "I'm Shy" from "Once Upon A Mattress," which she sang in the talent show, and the song "Job, Job," which reminded me of Dani every time I sang it. If only I'd run into Dani once before she died. If only I could have hugged her again, felt that gentle but firm grip of her helping hand. If only I could have told her how much I loved her, how impressive she was, how she was someone I looked up to so absolutely.

I ask myself why life has to be so unfair, and all I can think is, "She was an angel. You don't meet people like that all the time. And maybe she was just too good to keep here. Maybe she was always meant for something bigger than this world." This thought doesn't cheer me, but it helps me believe that she's okay, wherever she is. That she's helping and teaching and loving people, as she did me. And I remember that one of her screen names was Wild Angel, and it hammers my thoughts home. Sure, it was just a screen name, but maybe it was more than that, somehow, in some twist of fate. And "Job, Job" has a lyric: "All your daughters dead." I thought of that today, and it sent a stab of shock through me. Because when I first sang that, of course, I thought of Dani, the only Job's Daughter I ever knew. The most real Job's Daughter. And now she's dead. And that's disturbing. But then another set of lyrics come to mind, those of a song entitled "Borrowed Angels," performed by Kristin Chenoweth:

They shine a little brighter,

They feel a little more

They touch your life in ways no one has ever done before.

They love a little stronger,

They live to give their best

They make our lives so blest.

So why do they go so soon?

The ones with souls so beautiful

I heard someone say--

There must be

Borrowed Angels, here in this life

They come along, into this world, and make this world bright.

But they can't stay forever 'cause they're heaven sent

And sometimes, heaven needs them back again.

They reach a little deeper,

They see what's in your soul

And even when they leave you know, you'll never let them go.

The world's a little richer,

Just 'cause they came along

Their love goes on and on.

So why do they go so soon?

The ones with souls so beautiful

I heard someone say--

There must be

Borrowed Angels, here in this life

They come along, into this world, and make this world bright.

But they can't stay forever, 'cause they're heaven sent

And sometimes, heaven needs them back again.

How else can you explain

Why they're here and not here to stay?

I believe there must be,

Must be

Borrowed Angels, here in this life

They come along, into this world, and make this world bright.

But they can't stay forever, 'cause they're heaven sent

And sometimes heaven needs them back again.

And sometimes heaven needs them back again.

It's later now, 4:44 PM actually. My Mom went to my middle school and found out that Mrs. W is still on the cusp, responding to touch and surgery well, but having issues with pressure on her eye and-or brain. And her face is really hurt badly. And hearing about her daughter's death will certainly not aid her in recovery, unfortunately. There's also been a press release since, just saying that Dani was pronounced dead on the accident scene, and that seat belts were on, weather conditions were clear, and the accident was at around 8:50 Sunday morning. And it was a new car, and Mrs. W was driving. It's just so awful, I still can't believe it. I keep hearing Dani's laughter in my head, and it makes me crazy thinking that I'll never talk to her again, never hear her infectious laugh or hear her yell, "Caitlin, babe, what's up!" across the quad like she once did. For that matter, I may never hear Mrs. W do similar things.

On top of all this, I just found out that one of my relatives, aged in her late nineties, fell and had a minor heart attack. And now SHE's in the hospital. Great. Why is everyone freaking dying? And sitting through Floyd's funeral was really hard,, not only because I felt badly about Floyd, but because I kept hearing Dani in my head. And it was awful. Because even though Floyd is gone, he lived a full life. He touched so many people. And Dani did, too, but she could have lived so much longer. Done so much more. Achieved all her dreams. But now she can't. And that's what's worst of all.

I have to go do homework. Sorry this entry was so depressing. But it's what's going on. On a lighter note, I had a good talk with Bec, Andre, Maria and Farhan last night, which I haven't done in a long time. I hung out with Eric and Derek a little after my Choir concert on Friday, which they were both wonderful to attend. It didn't go very well, I don't think, but they seemed to like it. Although I think they were just being nice. But hey, that's what friends are for. And Derek and I are planning on going to Eric's concert next weekend. Hmmm, what else? Oh, did I mention Lannie threw up for the first time at home a couple weeks ago? And poor Esquire threw up at school for no reason. But thank goodness it was in the Resource room. Silly puppies. They recovered quickly though. Hmmm, what else? Um. I like the cookies our school bakes. And I like riding on those weird cart things. And I witnessed an intruder being escorted off our campus by Tony, tailed by John Jacob. And Lannie is having separation anxiety issues, and it disturbs me. And I've been coughing for the past week, which is stupid. But I suppose I didn't help matters by eating a ton of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie today. And no, I'm not overeating in an attempt to assuage my Death Trauma, or whatever. I just had a chocolate craving. I also have a headache, I just realized, which is really, really weird, because I never get them, so I'd better go do my homework before I totally crash. I don't mean to depress you all with this, or freak you out, BTW. I'm just updating. And I'm sure this weird headache will go away. I never get them, so it's doubtful they'll start up in earnest now.

See you guys, and please take care. And tell everyone you love that you love them. Because that's important.
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