Gloria Day

Gloria Elizabeth Krueger
September 2, 1972 – September 17, 2002
…….

I’ll walk your grave today, friend, and I will laugh, and I will cry. So very grateful for the time I had with you. So very sad that you’re not here.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

Ten.

Ten years today.

Ten years of thinking you could just burst through my front door, any minute, full of life, full of joy.

Ten years of remembering your compassion and your art.

Ten years of missing your clean laundry, piled so high on your bed it touched the sky and forced you, like an ongoing lover’s quarrel, to always sleep on the couch.

Ten years of hearing your whispers on the wind and feeling you beside me while I walk the trail behind my house.

Ten years of wondering at your gift of always making me feel good about myself and privileged to live this life as uniquely me.

Ten years of milestones.

BIG milestones.

You’re an auntie, Glo! You would’ve LOVED that. And your friends’ kids? They are legion. And beautiful.

I have five now. FIVE KIDS.

Abby’s 14. Not 4 anymore. Not 4 like she was on the night that you died. Not 4 like she was on the night that I curled up with her in my bed and tried to stifle my sobs so I wouldn’t scare her.

Why are you crying, Mama?
Oh, baby girl. Gloria died today.
Is she in Heaven?
She is, baby. I know for sure because she took some of my Heaven with her.
It’s OK, Mama.
I know, baby. I just miss her already.

Ian’s 12, now, and Aden’s 10. You saw their picture that summer before you left, and we went to Guatemala the next spring to bring them home. We named Miss Aden for you, you know. Gloria Aden; my joyful, determined, messy, smiley kid — like you, like you. And she beams every Christmas when we sing Angels We Have Heard on High, belting “GLO (oh oh oh oh) OH (oh oh oh oh) OH (oh oh oh oh) OH RIA! In egg shell sees day OH…” with gusto and terribly off pitch, proud of her name, and comfortable in her skin. So very much like you.

We have twin boys, too, like the baby brothers you adored; oh, how you would’ve laughed your way, thrilled, through that discovery. You’re pregnant? With twins? And they’re boys? YAY!

Five, Gloria. FIVE. Can you believe it? Even a little? Because I still can’t, quite honestly. You would adore them, my wild children; they’re crazy NUTS. And sometimes naked. Like we were the summer night we ran all the way down that mountain, a pack of wild women wearing only running shoes and freedom.

It still makes me smile.

You would’ve turned 40 two weeks ago, Glo. The big 4-0. And you would’ve embraced it, I think, the way you did 30, with eager anticipation, delighted to enter a new era.

We just didn’t know then what kind of new era was coming, did we?

You left us for Heaven on September 17. Ten years ago.

On the hardest days — the days I’m disheartened and I wonder whether I really believe in God or Heaven — you pull me there with you, the strength of your life so vibrant and full that it’s impossible for me to think such a Light can be snuffed. You must be somewhere, Glo. And it must be magnificent. It simply… must.

When I pray — help my unbelief — I hear Gloria whispered softly in my mind. Because the love of Vivid You is often an easier touchstone to find in the dark than a God too big to understand. This, I think, is much of what it means to be Jesus to each other.

I miss you, friend.

I can still hear your laugh.

And I love you.
B

…….

Oh, friends. I know I’m not alone. If there’s someone you miss and want to honor, please do feel free to leave their name and dates in the comments below. Also? Here is a piece of my heart. You may use it to shore up yours. I think a patchwork quilt of hearts is the only way to make it through, sometimes. Don’t you?

…….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
42 comments
  1. My Mum, Dorothy Penny Wilson, died 20th January 2009 aged 60. I’ve got tears pouring down my face remembering her, getting very strange looks from my two year old who she never got to meet but would have loved so completely. Had to stop writing and have cuddles and tissues from my Amelia Dorothy, named after her Mim – the name Mum choose 11 years ago when my sister had her first child, because she was too young at 53 to be a grandma! Miss her so much, especially when I least expect it.

  2. Becky Zerlentes. Born 1970. Died 2008.

    First amateur woman boxer to die in the ring. She taught me about tampons, Greek Orthodoxy, shaving your armpits, and science.

    Damn, I miss her.

    1. This is a gorgeous tribute. Just loved it. Thank you.

  3. Oh, Beth. I’ve been offline for a few days & just now came across this post. And when I read the title a little voice told me to stop..not to read it. Not sitting here in McDonald’s parking lot, mooching off their free wi-fi while I sip a frappe. That little voice warned me repeatedly as my fingers slowly moved their way across my keyboard, guiding the cursor to your post. And now I’m no longer trying to hide my face when passers by glance into my car; curious as to why the crazy woman inside is sobbing uncontrollably. On July 4th…THIS year…I lost my best friend, Chrissy. C-Rock to her close peeps. 2 months and 21 days ago I got the call…Chrissy’s dead, Stef. She’s dead. Unexpectedly, suddenly, without warning. My best friend in the whole entire world, the only other Catholic girl in our school, the single-most instrumental person in my return to the church & finally getting confirmed…she walked by my side every step of the way, maid-of-honor at my wedding, god mother to my son, my constant cheerleader – she made me want to be a better person, my sister in all ways but blood. I miss her terribly. And I struggle with this new reality.

    Thank you for sharing Gloria with us. Thank you for your honesty…there are days when I doubt, when God is just too big for me to understand, when I question. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in those feelings; to know it’s ok. I am so glad I read your post.

    xoxo -Stephanie

  4. my beautiful amazing vivacious Aunt Cindy… 9/19/54-11/25/2011
    colon cancer snuck in like a thief and took her from us in 9 months.

  5. A few days late… You did a great job writing about Gloria, she was bigger than life. She made sure I had a ride to Surfside with her family after taking the train from Boise to Portland. We had the best slumber party. She helped me fit in even though I was an out-of-stater outsider. And yes she did adore her brothers!!! She was amazing and so confident. It was a privilege to know her heart and her realness. Thanks for prompting such deep memories. It was devastating when I read of her death. I miss the days of belonging in the Friends youth.

    1. Thanks for remembering with me, Janey. Gloria was extraordinary, truly.

  6. I’m a little late, as usual, but sending love to each of you. I remember my mom, who fought so hard against uterine, lung, and brain cancers. Born Sept 4, 1952, passed July 1, 1998. *wipes a tear*

  7. This post and all it’s comments were so painful! We are all carrying the loss of someone.

    My Mama – from Ovarian Cancer – 19 years ago this December.

    1. I cried my way through them, Kristen.

      I remember your beautiful, graceful mama. Sending you lots of love.

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