Posted in family, friends, life, people


I misplace my keys and I’m cranky. I lose my keys and I’m disgusted. I don’t get a job and I’m depressed. I lose a word war and I’m hell-bent to win the next one. When I lose someone dear to me, I’m devastated. But, when someone I care about loses someone, I’m lost.


The 24-year old, beautiful and brilliant daughter of one of my best friends died in an automobile accident over the weekend. The other driver was drunk. I read about this kind of thing all the time. I have a MADD ribbon on my car antenna and we’re always responsible enough to have a designated driver when we need one. But, what else is there to do? You can’t stop others who choose to drive drunk. And, you can’t take back what they’ve done. So, what do I do for my friend?

This was to be a long girls’ weekend with my best friends, an annual event, this year in San Diego. I was packed and ready to go when I got the call that Eddie Girl was gone. The trip was off, of course, as most of my friends went to Janna’s side. They all live fairly close together now, I’m the only one at a distance.

Named for her grandmother, Edwina, she’d been a tomboy who always preferred to be called “Eddie.” Janna took to calling her Eddie Girl in hopes Eddie would remember she was a girl! She played volleyball all through high school and had scholarship offers from college teams, but she was on her way to becoming a veterinarian and didn’t think she had time for volleyball. She was all about being best in her class and that meant time with her books.

Eddie Girl was an outdoor enthusiast — skiing, sailing, hiking, diving, rock climbing — and was usually accompanied by her faithful companion, Clyde, a Golden Retriever. She did finally developed a “girly” side but never became the fashionista her mom is (I’ve written about Janna’s shoe addiction here before), preferring a more classic look. She was into animals, history, books, gardening, and like most of her contemporaries, that stuff they call music these days. She still had her Pokemon card collection and her first Barbie. She was dating a fellow  vet student and they planned to marry and open their own clinic.

I feel like I’m writing an obituary for Eddie Girl. I’m just trying to make sense of it all and writing helps. I don’t have children or grandchildren, but I remember a scene in the movie Steel Magnolias where Sally Field is in the cemetery with her women friends after her daughter’s funeral. I was so torn up over her intense reaction to losing her child. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child you gave birth to and raised, one you expected to outlive you.

I wish I knew what I could do for Janna. She’s been my buddy for years; I watched Eddie Girl grow up. Janna was so proud when she left for college. And, she’s so alone now. I can’t be there with her and can’t seem to find the right words to make her feel better. There’s no way I can ease her pain. I feel inadequate and sad.



I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

18 thoughts on “Loss

  1. This is perfect. Email or copy or make sure she gets it. She can’t help but feel the love and affection that flows through it from you to her and to her daughter. Don’t worry, there will be more words later.

    1. Sorry to be so long responding to your comment, but thank you. I actually took your advice and read it to her over the phone. We both started crying, but she thanked me for it.

  2. There’s no easy answer, of course, or you wouldn’t need to ask us. Your best course of action is to do what you’re already doing. Be there for her now, and more importantly, months from now. She will be swarmed by friends and family in the next few weeks, but there will come a time when the supporters drift back to their lives. She’ll need support and friendship and you’re just the person for the job.

    1. I think you’re absolutely right about that immediate rush of people and condolences and then when it subsides there’s the emptiness. I’ll take your advice and just keep being there for her. Thank you.

  3. I am so sorry to hear that. How many times must an innocent person lose their life to a drunk driver? So unfair and so senseless. There are no words.

  4. Whenever I went through unspeakable loss, all I needed was for my friends to be. Near me in spirit or body. Just to know that you exist and are close to her, and always will, is simply enough

    1. Thank you, Claudia. I hope that by talking to her often and listening to her talk about it is a comfort to her. I do love her, and she knows that; maybe being near her in spirit is “simply enough.” I like that thought, thanks.

  5. I am so sorry to you and Janna. It’s terrible how many drunken accidents claim lives, absolutely awful. I hope Janna is able to read this post and know how you feel.

  6. What a beautiful account of friendship and love! I’ve lost my brother and cousin to drunk driving and there is such frustration in the senselessness of it. My heart goes out to Janna.

    1. Thank you. You’re right — there is such a sense of frustration over this kind of thing. Why do people continue to think it’s ok to drive when they’ve been drinking?

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