Gone away

I received some horrible news last night that has absolutely nothing to do with the band.  I need to make that clear because I wouldn’t want to frighten anyone, especially with the past couple of days we’ve had.

When I was in college and still cute (HA!), I was in a sorority.  A sorority is basically a club, for those of you who aren’t from the US and don’t understand.  It’s a club of (in this case) women who call one another sisters – and as I sit back and realize just how freaky this sounds – it’s like gaining a new extended family.  Some of those sisters you love, and others, well, just as in a family – you barely tolerate.  In fall of 1989 there were a group of five of us that joined the Rho Pledge Class of the Theta Phi Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha at Cal State Fullerton.  There were 30 in the pledge class if I remember right, but 5 of us sat together at a table and somehow, that forever melded us as a group.  Laurie, Janell, Sheri, Michelle and I were inseparable to a degree, and in many ways we were each misfits within the house.  I counted on them to get me through those college years, and I have no doubt that they in turn counted on me.

At some point during my junior year (Michelle, being two years older had already graduated),  there was an argument.  Actually there were several, and as a result – I was the odd man out.  Deservedly.  The details don’t matter (nor can I remember many of them), but the point is that I graduated and moved on without these girls.  I didn’t try to keep in touch, and for many years I harbored deep resentment…and I’m stubborn on top of it all. Then last year at some point, Laurie found me on Facebook.  I can’t tell you the type of joy that went through me.  I was very nervous about finding the rest of them – I thought for sure they’d reject me, and as a result I think I really tried my best to protect myself.  I can be a real hardass at times and as Amanda will tell you all – I’m no picnic. 😀    Since then, the five of us – they used to call us the Rho Pledge Class Clique – which is the biggest joke ever, have gotten together a few times and I love these girls more than ever.  We have the type of friendship that goes beyond a sorority and spans a lifetime.

Late last night, I got a phone call – which never happens of course.  It was my friend Michelle telling me that Laurie’s mom posted a note up on her page that she’d died.  Immediately I said that it couldn’t be possible, and it couldn’t.  I had just texted back and forth with Laurie last week while I was in the GA line for Biloxi.  She was a huge Rick Springfield fan in the way I am about Duran Duran. (if that’s possible…as she always said “Well Rhonda, you DO write a blog.  That pretty much makes you even more messed up than I am”, and we’d laugh. Gotta keep it in perspective, and Laurie was always good for that.)  She was always shocked that I’d never made it to front row, and so when I finally did last week – I shared that info with her first.  She was so excited for me.  She encouraged me to ask for Dom’s pick and then said we’d celebrate when I got home.  We had a lot to celebrate because our other friend Janell had just had a baby the day before we left, and we were all excited.  Laurie had been coming back from one of her roadtrips somewhere and clipped a car, which sent her out of control.  And now my friend is gone forever.  It just can’t be.

I know this has nothing really to do with Duran Duran, but in a way – it really does for me.  I have a small confession to make here.  I’ve never really identified well with Ordinary World – that’s why it was so important to me when Simon explained the significance of the song to the band last week.  I’ve had people die before of course, but the point of the song never resonated.  Until this morning.  I really don’t know how Sheri, Michelle, Janell and I will be the same again without Laurie interjecting her horrible rude humor or her great hugs.  Laurie was willing to accept me with all of my faults and shortcomings.  She wholeheartedly accepted an apology from me that was fifteen years late in coming, and I remember her hugging me after our first get together again since college and saying “You are not going to escape or go away again, Rhonda.  We won’t let you.  I won’t let you.”  I feel like such a horrible friend this morning, I can’t even tell you.  So my point is that I finally get it.  Hard to believe, right?

There have been many times over this past year where Amanda and I have looked at one another or emailed and said that we have to just GO – or do whatever it is we’re thinking of doing because we never know when it’ll be the last time.  Granted, 99% of the time it’s been in reference to this band.  We did the UK again, we just finished driving 1300 miles, we got up at a ridiculous hour to be in the GA line by 7am to get front row, and rather than just sitting back and letting life happen, we decided to make the good things happen for a change.  Of course, one can’t control everything.  Nick’s illness, Simon’s voice…those are things we can’t actually control no matter how much we’d like, and they serve as good reminders that yes, someday this will end, and it will hurt, and it will happen when we least expect it, because that’s just what happens.  Nothing could have prepared me for that phone call last night.  Nothing.  My pain is completely palatable, and yet I also feel numb and sort of paralyzed.  I was telling my husband that when my dad passed away, I had already prepared myself.  I knew it was coming and I suppose to some degree I’d already really grieved.  This?  Not so much.  It is the worst pain I’ve ever felt.  I’ve cried so much today (and as you all know I don’t do tears) that my head hurts. It’s barely 8:30 am my time.

Yeah, I know the band is a pain sometimes.  I know the FANS are a pain sometimes .  But we love one another.  I wouldn’t want any single member of the band, or the band as a whole – to ever think otherwise.  Sure I give them a really hard time, and I know I’ve been especially hard on Simon.  I still love them and in a really strange way, they’re family.  We’re a big dysfunctional family.  Aren’t we lucky??  So, if you’re ticked off about the shows being canceled or you’re still mad about Red Carpet Massacre, or you think the guys are just a bunch of elitists that don’t care about their fans – I implore you to try again.  Don’t do what I did and wait fifteen years only to have such a limited time.  Part of me is VERY angry that Laurie was ripped away from us, and another part of me is so incredibly thankful that I had a whole year with her.  I just wish that I would have told her one more time how much I love her.  I won’t ever regret the time I spent with her…just the time I didn’t.

From L-R: Michelle, Sheri, Me, Janell, Laurie


15 thoughts on “Gone away”

  1. I'm deeply sorry for you loss. If any words from a stranger can help, just know it gets better. A few years ago, I lost my dad suddenly, and the pain just always seems to be there, and sometimes “in the way.” He's been gone for a while now, and while there is a tinge of sadness, I know he is always there, his big heart loved enough to fill the empty space that he left. I hope you find that space too. It will take a while, and I won't candy coat it, the pain sucks and it hurts. But it won't be that intense and dramatic always. Take good care of yourself in the meantime. 🙂

  2. My dad died 4 years ago. It wasn't sudden though, and having the time to prepare did sort of help. I hate saying that, but it's true. This hurts so much differently. Thank you for your thoughts though – they really do help. 🙂 -R

  3. Just wanted to let you know I am sorry for your loss. Sounds like Laurie was a wonderful friend who will be missed.


  4. So sorry to hear about your loss. There really aren't any words that can help. What has helped me through the death of my father last year and honestly, throughout my entire life has been my love for music. It is incredible how much a lyric, a melody and even an honest silent pause in a song, can capture your heart and provide comfort and unexpected answers. Even a song as OW, perhaps over played, thought of as over rated, has moments of true meaning and sincere thought that can at times be forgotten but never lost. The words reach you when you most need them. The beauty of art, its always accessible when you are ready to receive it. I wish you comfort in this time.

  5. I know what it's like to lose a close friend. I'm still dealing with the loss of my former roommate and close friend that I had lived with for 10 years. That's a long time to be involved in someone's life. The pain has gone down,but the loss is still felt inside. It was more worse when I lost my mom. With my roommate,it was unexpected,but I was hoping for the best. We will always have regrets and wished we did more when we had the time,but we didn't. We have to remember tomorrow is not promised to anyone,we have to live for today and live it to our fullest. We should should never take anyone in our lives for granted. There is a saying:Some people or in your life for a reason,a season,and others for a lifetime. She was put there for you to learn something from her. Whatever good you can take away from her,use that to enhance your life and keep her memory alive. She would want that from you. If you ever need me for anything,do not hesitate to ask. I may not know you well enough,but I do understand you and I do consider you and Amanda as friends. Hang in there,and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as well as her family.

  6. I'm so sorry your friend was taken away from all of you. Words can only go far, the only thing that really helps lessen the pain is time. She helped bring you back together with your other “sisters” too and now you can help support each other.

  7. my deepest condolences for your loss 🙁 How lovely that you reconnected with her last year, though. I lost touch with a dear dear friend almost ten years ago and found out that she was killed in a motorcycle accident a little over a year ago. I never got the opportunity to reconcile with her and tell her how much I loved her. Hold this past year with her in your heart and cherish every moment with those you love. Thinking of you and praying for you! <3<3

  8. That's the silver lining in all of this, because Laurie was on my case until I finally agreed to get together last year…and you're right, now I've got the other girls to get through all of this. Thanks so much! -R

  9. Oh man, what a week. I am so sorry Rhonda. I wish you had a warning, a sign, but unfortunately the rug was ripped from under you so abruptly. It just makes the pain more acute. Hold your memories close. The best advice on loss I have taken is that “time is your friend”. The pain will never be gone, but time will lessen the intensity of the hurt and allow you to remember the good times. I don't know, it helped me deal with my father's sudden death.

  10. Thank you. It's one of those things, I go through moments where I'm absolutely fine, and then suddenly I'll remember she's not around. I find myself getting angry for no good reason and feeling like I'm on an emotional roller coaster… and then of course, because of the fact that this person was in my college sorority, I've got the hormones of about 40 other women to deal with. It's amazing how quickly a funeral can be drama-ridden when you've got girls involved, so I've been carefully sidestepping some of the more petty things. Truthfully, I just want to see my other 3 friends that are in that picture and do our mourning our own way, because that's what WE need and that's what Laurie would want. That will happen on Monday. 🙂 -R

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