The Memories Remain

In looking over the past few days, some eventful things have happened to me. I quietly turned 29 last Thursday (great cookies and coffee, Jax and Susan), met the guy who is taking over my position complete with start date and even secured a job interview for next week. But my mind and heart has been focused on a group of friends in the Portland, Maine, area that are hurting over the loss of one of their own, Laura Vogel, who passed away last Thursday at the way-too-young age of 27.

Most of you probably don’t know who Laura is. Honestly, I didn’t really know her that well. I think I first met Laura a couple years ago on one of the random weekends when I answered the call of the Old Port and good company to help remove some mental stress. She was a “small talk” friend in that we would exchange pleasantries every time we’d interact at parties and such and that was good enough for both of us. She even gave her roommate some advice to pass along to me after I got out of the hosptial from appendix surgery. But you could tell she meant much, much more to another group of people; the same group that is wishing 2007 would reverse to a time when they weren’t mourning the loss of their friend.

Dealing with death is not easy, especially when it comes to someone that was so young. I think it hurts worse because of the unanswered question of “What if?” that doesn’t stick with us when our parents and grandparents pass on. Unfortunately, we are left to remember and carry on as best we can while always having that damned question in the back of our heads. While life can be full of great joy, it’s the tragedy of a death such as Laura’s that snap us back into reality that life can be very, very cruel when it comes to the other unanswered question: “Why?”

In reading stories and watching news footage over the past few days, I’ve got to learn a bit more about Laura’s life. She was a nurse at Portland’s Maine Medical Center and worked in the neo-natal care unit, watching over both the fragile newborns and the equally fragile parents. She was from a family of nurses, a good family that seemed to have the DNA strand of caring about people ingrained in them. She was studying to become a nurse practioner with a focus on dealing with young heart patients. Caring wasn’t something she did, but it was something she was. And most amazing of all, her life tragically ended while on a relief mission in the Dominican Republic with other volunteers helping treat sick villagers. Laura actually made her life matter, something the rest of us should strive for in our everyday endeavors.

Outside of her work efforts, I gather that she was a genuinely good person who made a lot of people happy. Looking back, I can remember hearing her name so much that I’m still stunned I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked. In reading those stories and listening to what her friends and others are saying, I understand why they’re feeling so much pain. The world lost a great person last Thursday morning and if we can keep her memory alive through doing some genuine good in our own lives, then maybe someday a glint of sunshine can be found in an otherwise stormy sky.

My thoughts go out to the family of friends of Laura Vogel, who I truly got to know way too late.

(If you’re interested in learning a little more about this special person, check out the link below where there’s some news video:)

http://www.wmtw.com/video/10690623/index.html

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The most frequently-asked question lately of yours truly: “Know what you’re doing yet?” Yeah, still no answer and that’s ok with me. It was definitely strange meeting the guy that is going to take over your job, but I knew the day would eventually come. I’m looking forward to getting him ready to take on the challenge, while also personally looking ahead to my next mission in life. A bizarre string of events might blow my ship back to a place I didn’t expect to dock in, but that’s life for you. Honestly, I feel really blessed to have two cities full of friends that I could easily be very, very happy in, which will make my final decision amazingly tough to make. Sigh.

In any case, it looks like the book (or is that a DVD box set?) will close sometime in February on my hockey career…for now. My good-bye speech has already been mentally written and I’m gearing up for what will be a very surreal period for myself and others around me. Jump aboard, kids…the fun is about to begin.

Just don’t ask me if I know what I’m doing yet.

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I am pretty psyched that one of my last promotional campaigns will focus on the tagline “Back in Black.” Yes, this is my life.

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Why isn’t the fact that it was in the 60s in early-January in New England with no snow more of a story? We are SO F**KED this summer. So. F**ked.

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On the entertainment front, I managed to finish the fifth season of ’24’ and am completely caught up in anticipation of next week’s four-hour mega-thon over two days. I think I’ve asked this question before, but if you had as many bad 24-hour periods as Jack Bauer, wouldn’t you find another line of work? Seriously?

thanks for reading,
nason