Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I still have a lot of questions...

Her favorite flower was the Gerbera/Gerber Daisy. She liked cheap Chinese food and her favorite day of the week was Friday. I know these things because of one of those dumb getting-to-know-you questionnaires that people send you. I don't think they're quite so dumb anymore, because the answers she sent to me--plus a her e-mail letters that I printed up before my computer crashed last year are all I've got left of KRH.

KRH married the son of my older cousin. I attended their wedding and sent gifts when they had their first son. When they moved to Tennessee and KRH became a stay-at-home-mother with a husband who traveled excessively, we forged a bit of a bond. When they came into town, I always made it a point to see her. She had a fabulous laugh and an easy personality. She was kind, creative and curious. She loved her son and she loved her husband, but she grieved for the part of herself she lost by no longer challenging herself at work. She was a real person who made you feel better simply by being around her.

When she was about 7 months pregnant with her second son, she had the opportunity to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary in Europe with her husband. She was unsure about leaving her two-year old son with her parents and in-laws while she left the country. I told her she should go, because things only get more complicated with two kids. I know I'm not the only person who told her to take advantage of the chance to have a romantic encounter in Europe. I'm glad she did. One of the questionnaires she filled out says that it was the best time in her whole life.

A few months later she went to the hospital to have her son. The day after he was born, she died of an undiagnosed brain bleed. It's still a little hard to believe. The planet is a little darker for her passing.

I'm not writing about this to increase the post-Christmas funk that everyone seems to have. I do so because the picture of the hallway in my house reminded me of her. On the wall to the right is a little altar my husband made out of wood from a corncrib on my in-law's farm. Inside it are pictures of friends and family who aren't with us anymore. Her picture is still in the center.

More importantly, though, this post is about those questionnaires. People still send them to me. Sometimes they're way too damned long or I'm just way too busy, but I take the time to fill them out and send them back, because the person who sent the very first one to me inspired me to send it to KRH. And because she sent it back, I hear her voice when I read her words. What appeared to be inconsequential the fact she preferred croutons over bacon bits on her salad... seems so very important now.'s a short one. If you like...send me your answers.

1. What's the name of the first blog you ever read? Dooce
2. Last concert you went to see? Adrian Belew (King Crimson) at the Granada Theater in Dallas.
3. Favorite books from childhood: Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew mysteries, Charlotte's Web, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The Diary of Anne Frank.
4. Do you feel guity when you don't blog for a few days? Yes.
5. Do you play an instrument? piano
6. If you had to grab four famous people (living or dead) and have them over for a fantasy dinner, who would you invite? Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks. Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.
7. Name a recent frustration involving self-discipline: I used to be a good runner. I finished a marathon in '98 and two half marathons. Now I can barely run a mile. I need to get back on it, but I need a good running partner again.
8. Favorite food: Chinese or steak and salad.
9. Would you consider yourself more politically conservative , liberal or middle-ground? The last five presidents I voted for were Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Clinton and Dukakis. I live in Texas so that makes a liberal and a freak of nature.
What bloggers have you met? I already knew Shrinking Violet, Reading and Rock, so they don't count. I'm waiting for the announcement of the B-List Blogger Convention so I can meet others.


Blogger mrtl said...

I don't know what to say, so I'll just send a hug.

12:36 PM  
Blogger mrtl said...

p.s. One thing I forgot to say is that I love you for your HDL comments. I had the same reaction, but didn't want to go there when I posted (former English teacher, too, you know) because I've found that most people I've met who home school only care to glorify their efforts and will quickly dismiss any attempts to point out obvious errors. There's no such thing as constructive criticism; the defenses are always up. No difference here. Oh well.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Shrinking Violet said...

I'm so glad you wrote that post. It gives me a whole new way of looking at those questionnaires. Very good post.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

That was very sweet and beautiful. Thank you for getting me out of my own funk.

2:51 PM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

This puts a whole new perspective on those surverys; I'll look at them differently from now on.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Excellent post. It's funny the things we remember about people. It's not necessarily their long-term art projects or their commencement speeches; it's often simply that they hate wool or miss the light-brown M&M's.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Plain Jane said...

Just looking at the hallway only makes me smile - it's a charming and inviting hallway that I want to just stand in and absorb all the details of.

I am sorry for your loss, but it's good to have those answers to remember her by.

4:58 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

So sad! I wasn't expecting the whole she died thing. That had to be such a loss for your family.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

How sad. I never thought of these questionnaires this way.

Oh and I am another liberal freak who was raised in the nation, um, state of Utah and moved from Idaho. People in those states think you have horns and a tail if you vote for anything other than a Republican. Independents are sometimes acceptable, but a Democrat? That's just evil.

12:58 AM  
Blogger reading said...

Now I know why you're one of the few who respond to the surveys I send. Yours is a wonderful way to think of them. Here are my responses to your mini-blog-survey. (Is it OK to do that here?)

1. What's the name of the first blog you ever read? A friend from work sent me a link to one that I can't remember right now. Something about shoes? It was hysterical and I randomly wish I could find it again.
2. Last concert you went to see? Nickel Creek at Stubbs in Austin
3. Favorite books from childhood: White Fang, Rifles for Watie, The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Harriet the Spy, To Kill a Mockingbird (my mom read me all the scenes with Jem and Scout and Dill)
4. Do you feel guity when you don't blog for a few days? Yes. Which is sad because I'm really bad about it.
5. Do you play an instrument? No.
6. If you had to grab four famous people (living or dead) and have them over for a fantasy dinner, who would you invite? C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, J.K. Rowling, Jensen Ackles
7. Name a recent frustration involving self-discipline: When are those grades due again?
8. Favorite food: Mexican, BBQ
9. Would you consider yourself more politically conservative , liberal or middle-ground? I'll have to own up to being politically conservative.
10. What bloggers have you met? I only know wordgirl. And we met before she was wordgirl. :)

2:57 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

This is the B-list blogger meetup! It was so fun last year! Kind of far from TX, though. But it was really fun.

6:38 PM  

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