Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Unbounded by Joy: Cathy McCambridge

August 19

Her joy is what touched us the most, a pure happiness that flowed around her and made everyone smile. We were college students from around the country studying at Chautauqua, New York for four weeks. Her smile was infectious, she sang with passion, and I found excuses to be near her.

Not long after returning home that summer, we received word that Cathy had been killed by a car in a cycling accident.

Thirty years later, I still think about her. Her memory spurs me to celebrate each day because I don't know how many I will have. And I’ve learned over the years that death comes to many people before they are old.

While driving through northern Ohio recently, which is where Cathy lived, I thought to send a note to her parents to let them know that even though Cathy died young, her influence on others has endured. I’ve thought about doing several times over the years. In searching for their mailing address, I discovered that they had died in the last year.

Lesson learned:  If I think of something nice to do, I should do it now, because life is tenuous.  
Cathy was a student at Bowling Green State University for one year, but in that year she touched so many lives, and touched them so deeply, that her school set up a scholarship in her name.
Cathy did not live long enough to make her dreams a reality. But what her life shows is that we can change the world, no matter how young we are, by being ourselves.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Cathy’s death at age nineteen.       

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