Readlarrypowell.com has been staggered in recent days by sad events. And, oddly, the sad events involve some of the most un-sad people we've ever encountered.
These are the passages, but there will, no doubt be some prayers involved.
CONSUELO "DR. CHELO" MURRAY
A veteran rescuer whose e-mail tips were always upbeat and her manner always gracious, Dr. Chelo died last Saturday from cancer. We got the news from another rescuer, Wendy Anderson. And we know that among Dr. Chelo's friends and admirers is our Oak Cliff pal Mary Garrett -- they conspired to help critters.
I asked Wendy to give a brief comment about Dr. Chelo and this is what she wrote:
"Dr. Chelo was a caring and loving individual who loved life and her dogs. She had a radiant smile that would brighten up anyone's days. Always donating to causes that mostly included animal welfare, Dr. Chelo was truly a blessing to us all. She was surrounded by those who loved her in her last days, especially her dogs, which made her transition easier. She will be forever remembered and always loved." (Make memorials to Straydog Inc. at www.straydog.org.)
During my career at the big paper in Dallas, I ran into a lot of interesting and very dear co-workers. One of them, Wendy Rains, has left us. She was found dead in her apartment several days ago by her early-teen daughter, Grace. Wendy's husband is in the service and was in Iraq -- he has since flown back
Wendy was a research librarian from the time she was a teenager -- quick, fast and efficient. And always fun to talk with and work with. Can't say that for everybody in a newsroom, you know.
There is a really nice paid obituary in the big paper today. You can read it HERE.
Many, many, many years ago, I discovered Wendy was a cat person. I think she actually was an "any critter" person and, of course, when Grace came along, Wendy triumphed as a "baby person."
The weeping will not soon stop for Jane Bainbridge and I think that would probably irritate her. She's among the most consistently upbeat people who ever walked the earth.
We saw her over the weekend -- frail and physically diminished by lymphoma but full of spirit and quite ready to spend the afternoon chatting for as long as her energy and morphine held out. We all became conversationalists anytime we were in a room with Jane. Conversations with Jane were just about guaranteed to offer the opportunity to laugh, to enjoy a moment, to give you something to smile about.
At one point, as conversations reigned, Jane looked up at me, smiled with a twinkle, gestured around the room and whispered, "Pandemonium."
Jane had a lot of life to talk about -- her life started in England, went to Bermuda where she was the island TV station's weather girl in the 1970s, then to San Angelo where she found a husband named "Slats" and after his death from cancer, she came to Dallas and found a home with the Hunt Oil Company family. And, having watched these people rally around Jane for everything from transportation to sitting with her in waiting rooms, it is a "family."
I stopped by to visit Jane just before 11 a.m. Tuesday -- she was quietly sleeping. It was the sleep of someone who is weary, perhaps hopeful for peace and escape from pain.
I left a note -- I write. I didn't know what else to do.
In better times, I recalled hearing my laughingspouse Martha cackling during phone calls and she'd explain, "It's Jane."
Not a silly person, but a fun person. Quick wit. Big heart.
By the afternoon Tuesday, word was out via the "Hunt Family E-mail" system that Jane was fading swiftly. That evening, Martha gathered her Kindle and knitting drove across town to spend the night in Jane's hospice suite.
About 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jane left us. There was an immediate deafening silence on our part of the planet. A great voice for mirth and fun has been stilled.
Things are always left undone in the life of an optimist -- those people expect to finish everything and enjoy the triumph. There are details of closing down a life that will need to be handled by Jane's loved ones and friends. Jane's beautiful old fluffy cat Tasha will be getting a good home. "Quite the Diva," Jane would explain.
Years from now, even when the changes of the world have bewildered us beyond comprehension, those of us who knew Jane will find ourselves smiling -- probably just from the flash of a memory of a moment with Jane.
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