... the lone occupant of one of the northbound cars, an adult female, was also killed ...
My mother called, her voice shaking, to tell me that Gladys, had been killed in a car accident. I did my best to comfort my mother, as she had always been close to Gladys, while I tried to figure out how I was to feel. Now, of course, I felt sad, as I would have at hearing of anyone dying in a car crash. But, in modern times, relationships between people are often ill-defined or outright problematic.
Gladys was my brother's first wife. After the divorce she remarried, he remarried and life went on - them apart. That meant that I never saw her at any family events that I attended. That her name wasn't often spoken of in passing conversation. She had left my life in any real sense.
I remember Gladys, with fondness. And not that horrid, 'never speak ill of the dead' fondness - but actual fondness. She was always kind to me and inclusive of Joe. She was a ready laugher and wanted very much to be part of a family. She was easy to chat with and always had something to say. She and I weren't close, but that's because I wasn't particularly close with my brother at the time.
So, the divorce came and went. She and my brother have two kids, whose life is ripped apart right now. I'm not even sure how to reach out to them and tell them how deeply sorry I am. Their mother simply got into her car to drive to work and then was struck by a car that wandered into her lane from the other direction. In a second a life is over.
My mother wasn't clear on what happened so I did a search and found the quote above from a local newspaper. It sounded so cold. So distant. And Gladys was never cold, or ever distant. It sounded as if it had happened to someone I don't know. And I didn't really know her. It sounded as if the time that was left to make connections and say goodbyes was ripped away from us.
If I had time and we had the inclination, I'd have had tea with her and told her that I always appreciated her support, both implied and given. In Gladys' memory, I'm going to try to assure myself this never happens to me again, that connections are made and things are said in a timely fashion. Because time ends when it will.
Fare Thee Well, Gladys.