Last year was a difficult one when it came to losing people who meant something to me. One of those people though, I'm still kind of in shock over. For a number of reasons.
I met this friend through a job I had, she was a customer, and I got to know her well over the years. When I changed jobs we stayed in touch and we had lunch periodically. A little over 10 years ago she decided that she'd had enough of the cold weather here in the north and moved to South Carolina. Even after she moved, we stayed in touch, not constantly, but we e-mailed a couple of times per year, and whenever she came home we always got together for dinner and interesting conversation. I always looked forward to those dinners as I knew we'd have a good laugh.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving I was thinking about her and a recipe she'd made to bring to our house one year when she had joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. It dawned on me that it was about time for her annual visit and that I hadn't heard from her for a while. At that point I wasn't concerned, but something deep down told me that something was wrong. Unfortunately we also had a major family crisis we were dealing with, and I really didn't have much time to think about it. After Thanksgiving I sent out my Christmas cards and sent her one like I always did. The day after Christmas, the card I'd sent to her came back as "undeliverable" and I feared the worst. After doing some poking around on the internet, my fears were confirmed. She had passed away. In May. I was stunned.
The bad part is I haven't a clue what happened, and I don't know that I ever will. I went back through my e-mails and the last one I had from her was in March. I'd sent her one in April about someone she knew who had passed away from here, but right after that we were leaving for North Carolina and it didn't occur to me that she had never e-mailed me back. Looking back on it, I'm thinking that whatever happened to her must have occurred sometime between those two e-mails. Perhaps she was in a hospital or nursing home from that point until she passed away. I know that if it had been something gradual like cancer, she would have let me know. I suspect it was something sudden like a stroke or heart attack.
I knew that she had a sister and I knew her first name, but not her last. They weren't very close, but I didn't realize just how estranged they were until this happened. When I went online to look for info, I came up very empty handed. The obituary was pretty much non-existent. It had her date of birth, her date of death and how old she was. That's it. I thought at least if I could find out her sister's last name, I could contact her and at least try and find out what happened, no such luck. Then I was really saddened that someone could pass away, and not so much as a tiny write up about them was done, her own sister couldn't be bothered. This disturbed me tremendously, I thought back to a conversation a group of my friends had about someone we all knew who had passed away recently and how shocked we were at how brief her obituary was. At least she had one. And then I thought about the wonderful obituary my sister-in-law wrote for my brother when he passed away in November. When you were done reading it, even if you didn't know him personally, you had a nice sense of who he was as a person.
At one point my sadness turned to anger, and the more I thought about it, the madder I got. She was a person, an interesting person and damn it, she deserved something. As I told my husband-"I could have written a decent obituary for her, and I wasn't even her family." And that's when it dawned on me: I would write her an obituary here on my blog. I apologize in advance if this seems kind of morose, but for me, it's more of a cathartic thing. It's also a look back on a life well-lived, even if her sister didn't appreciate it or her. I am changing the name on this (and several other pieces of information), only because of what little I do know about her sister, she'd probably sue me.
Lisa Louis, a resident of Aiken, South Carolina, passed away in May of 2014. She was 67.
She grew up in Grove City, PA, and after graduation from Grove City High School, she went to Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh. After graduation from college, she worked in the banking industry, first in Pittsburgh, and then in Richmond, Virginia for a number of years. In 1990 she decided to return to Grove City, where she resided for 13 years. During her years there, she taught as an interim professor of accounting at a local college, served as a member of the zoning board, and also worked as a wrap around for several school districts in addition to volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
In 2003 she decided to move to a warmer climate again, settling in South Carolina. She loved the area and the beautiful weather. She also stayed very active by joining a gym, and regularly participating in one of several groups who cheered on her beloved Pittsburgh Steelers during football season. A lifelong lover of dachshund's, she doted on her dog Lilly. Over the years she had travelled considerably, visiting France, Switzerland and Great Britain, as well as several other countries. She had been planning a return visit to Great Britain before her passing.
She is survived by a sister and her husband, a niece and a nephew. She was preceded in death by her parents.