I'm working at Manheim Community Swimming Pool. My friend, Deb, and I are checking memberships, paging guests, answering phones, and chatting... endlessly chatting about our lives. We are good friends. Graduation from high school took her to Wheaton College in Illinois. A couple of years later, I was gone, too, eventually settling in Pittsburgh. Once we stopped returning to our summer jobs at the pool, we lost touch. I missed Deb, however. We wrote letters, exchanged an occasional phone call, and then, communication ceased. We were on different paths which, sadly, never crossed again.
If it weren't for social media, I wouldn't know anything about Deb's life. As it turns out, we reconnected last year on Facebook. What a joy that was. But it was also surprising, in many ways, for Deb had taken a totally different route than me.
No longer the conservative Christian who grew up in a small Lancaster County town, Deb had converted to Judaism. She was also deeply in love with her partner, Martha. At first, her profile picture was unrecognizable to me. She'd changed.
But then, I thought, I'd changed, too. Gone was the insecure teenager who lacked confidence of any sort. My profile picture didn't resemble me much, either... I was no longer the 105 lb. skinny, pimple-faced girl of my youth. Had we passed each other at an airport, we would have done just that -- passed each other without an ounce of recognition on either side.
The changes in Deb's life fascinated me. I really wanted to hear her story. Perhaps more than I'd ever wanted to hear someone's story before. I wanted to know all about who she was now. We planned to meet sometime this summer. I couldn't wait.
This morning, I learned, once again, that life is fleeting. One minute we're here and the next... well, we're not. That was the case for my friend, Deb, on Monday. She traveled from Cleveland to North Carolina to attend a funeral. On Monday afternoon, she was driving when, too late, she spotted a car stopped in front of her on the road. In an attempt to miss hitting the other car, she swerved into the path of a dump truck. The head on collision cost her her life.
My questions will go unanswered. All I do know is that this vibrant woman is gone from this earth. From her obituary and the many FB tributes, I've learned how loved she was. Here are a couple of lines from her obit:
Debra lived her life with gusto and was passionate about experiencing adventure, new places and new people. She loved many activities including scuba diving, riding motorcycles, singing in choruses, sports of all kinds, and music.
Deb, my heart aches for the opportunities missed. Your life was full and mine, somehow, is less so because you are gone.
Godspeed, my friend. Godspeed.
Debra lived her life with gusto and was passionate about experiencing adventure, new places and new people. She loved many activities including scuba diving, riding motorcycles, singing in choruses, sports of all kinds, and music. - See more at: http://obits.cleveland.com/obituaries/cleveland/obituary.aspx?n=debra-louise-dunkle&pid=174799112#sthash.OQCqMwMY.dpuf