Communion Of Dreams


Unexpected strength.
December 14, 2010, 1:01 pm
Filed under: SCA, Society, Survival

Holbrooke was the chief architect of the Dayton Accords, the agreement which helped end the war in Bosnia. The agreement was signed fifteen years ago today. The veteran US diplomat was 69.

* * * * * * *

I took the phone call in the kitchen of my aunt & uncle’s house (this was long before cell phones). I had spent my adolescence in this home, after they took me in following the death of my parents. Now myself and some friends were staying there for a big SCA event to be held in my hometown: my first coronation as “king“. It was going to be a festive event, a day which was to be filled with fun and a bit of pomp, something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone. We talked. Not many words were used, but much was said. I hung up the phone, looked to my future wife. Even then, she could read my face.

“What’s wrong?”

“Something’s happened.”

* * * * * * *

Betty, the friend who was going to be my “queen”, looked at me. We were in a small room set aside for our use prior to the coronation ceremony. I don’t remember if anyone else was in the room at the time, but things were generally in chaos. What had ‘happened’ was that the night before a carload of friends who were traveling to attend our coronation had been killed in an accident. 4 people, known and beloved, were dead. Everyone was in shock, understandably.

Betty looked at me. She was a smart, caring woman, capable of dealing with just about anything. A child-abuse investigator, she had the training and temperament to understand tough emotional situations and still see what needed to be done. At that moment I realized just how incredibly fortunate I was to have her as a partner in the role I was about to play.

Betty looked at me, and I at her. There was compassion in her face. “Suddenly, it’s not just a game anymore, is it?”

* * * * * * *

Sunday was the anniversary of my father’s death. It’s been 41 years. My mom died about 18 months later. Both deaths were unexpected – one due to violence, the other accident.

They were not the first deaths I had known. And they certainly have not been the last. I’ve lost friends and loved ones. I’ve been there at the end to do what I can for another.

At 52, this is not uncommon. Most of us experience these things as we move through adulthood. But, prodigy that I was, I was ahead of the curve when I was younger.

* * * * * * *

Betty looked at me, and I at her. There was compassion in her face. “Suddenly, it’s not just a game anymore, is it?”

“No. Real people, real emotions.” I remember thinking that for all that that day was not what I had expected, there was some small part of me which was . . . satisfied . . . that I had entirely too much experience with such matters. Even with the shock and pain, I felt capable of dealing with what was to come.

She saw it, and knew. “Well, let’s go do what we can for everyone.”

* * * * * * *

Holbrooke was the chief architect of the Dayton Accords, the agreement which helped end the war in Bosnia. The agreement was signed fifteen years ago today. The veteran US diplomat was 69.

The radio moved on to the next story. My wife glanced at me. We were both getting dressed to go on our morning walk, adding extra layers because of the cold. “69. I heard that earlier. He was just ten years older than me.”

“Yeah.”

“It got me thinking about, well, unexpected death.”

“Me too.” I paused, looked at her. “I think about that all the time.”

“I know.”

* * * * * * *

Jim Downey

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4 Comments so far
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My friend Betty passed away a few years later from breast cancer. She remains bright in my memory, along with my other friends and loved ones who have died. I was fortunate to know them all.

Comment by James Downey

And you wonder why I ASKED if you would mind if I took her name? Sheeesh Shadan! That was when Boef died wasn’t it? I didn’t know it was that same time though. Wow…… *hugs*

They are all missed… those who go before. But they live on in what they taught us, how they lived and showed us how to live. In that way, they live on…….. in us.

Liz

Comment by Liz Orwig

Absolutely, Liz.

Yeah, that was that occasion.

Comment by James Downey

I remember that day well. Bear told me when I arrived; he was one of several people stationed in the parking lot to inform people on entry. I don’t know if that was your idea or Betty’s, but it was a good one.

I had driven that same road on my way in from Iowa the night before, not knowing what had happened at that crossing just a few hours before I passed there. When I returned on the same road the following day, I stopped and looked, and then stopped by the police station to talk with them too.

Comment by Robin




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