death and memory

I had this big long rant half-written in my head this morning while I was in the van, but I forbore from writing it down. which was probably not a good idea…but I’m likely to work my way back to about the same words, given a few paragraphs.

tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the…well, at the time I thought the word “Situation” summed it up well…but that doesn’t quite convey what I mean. then again, if you’re reading this at the turn of the 21st century, you probably know what I’m talking about anyway.

today, in contrast, is my birthday. it’s also my grandmother’s birthday – she would’ve been 89 years old today, if she were still alive. she died in 1995. (corrected 9/11, after remembering it was the same week I started at the Museum.)

six years ago last week, one of my co-workers at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma was in a 42-car pile-up on Interstate 5 in Federal Way. she was the only fatality, after 2 weeks in a coma. I’m sure a lot of people will always think of the towers and what happened last September when this season comes around each year. as for me, I always think of Becka, and being in the closed museum, and feeling lost, because someone so good and funny and thoughtful and ordinary was dying.

the people who died a year ago tomorrow were not patriot superheroes. like Becka, they were ordinary; they can’t have been anything else…just people going to work, living their lives, doing what they would’ve done any other day of the year.

I am 28, not very old, I know (older than Becka was when she died) – still, I’ve lost people who were dear to me in one way or another:

– James Melvin Nelson III, father, 1983
– Josie (whose last name escapes me today), sister’s godmother, 1987 [note 2010-06-29: found this today and realized I wrote down entirely the wrong name. Should be Abby.]
– William Harper Dillon, maternal grandfather, 1995
– Susanne Elizabeth (Kellogg) Nelson, paternal grandmother, 1995
– Rebecka (Becka) Smith Ozias, co-worker, 1996
– William Fernandez, uncle, 1999
– James (Mel) Melvin Nelson, paternal grandfather, 1999

I can tell stories updated link June 29, 2010 about each of those people. somewhere, there’s someone who can tell a story about everyone who dies, whether it’s in a nationally mourned tragedy or at home, of a heart attack, or in a 42-car pileup on the interstate.

now I feel more elegaic than rampant (as I did this morning)…maybe tomorrow will bring back that emotion, but for now I’m merely going to remember Dad and Josie Abby and Grandpa Dillon and Grandpa and Grandma Nelson and Becka and Uncle Bill, remember what they were like and what I learned from them.