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Cheryl's Room

Archive for June, 2013

posted on June 28th, 2013 under Etc..., Random Musings, Taxes

I had lunch with Robyn in February. She worked as an attorney at the corporate headquarters of my company and I looked forward to seeing her on all of my regular visits to the corporate center. Over lunch we rarely discussed work. Instead I learned about her family, her pets, her dating experiences, and the disadvantaged girl she had been mentoring for two years, advising her on classes, prepping her for SATs, reviewing her college admission essays, and helping to bring some normalcy to her troubled family life. I remember how proud she was when her mentee had been accepted at several colleges.

Two weeks later I was back at the corporate center attending a tax conference. Robyn had been one of the co-organizers of the event. She was filled with enthusiastic energy, especially about the team building scavenger hunt she had designed where our teams traveled to all parts of the corporate campus reading plaques and signs we might otherwise have passed by.

Two weeks later I heard that she was on medical leave. Robyn had been diagnosed with melanoma. We signed cards and contributed to gifts and celebrated the promotion she received while she was out on leave. I knew that melanoma was deadly but we both worked for a large pharmaceutical company with a strong oncology division. Surely that would somehow protect Robyn and help her to beat the odds.

Just three months later, on fathers’ day, Robyn passed away. She was only 34. Her obituary listed not only the relatives who predeseased her and by whom she was survived but all her beloved pets both alive and dead. She told her family that she didn’t want a funeral but a party at a later date to celebrate her life.

And there was a lot to celebrate in her 34 years. Memorials flooded the guest book from all the many people she had touched. In addition to memorials from cousins and childhood friends and colleagues, there were memories from the staff at her doctor, from the real estate agent who had given her her first tour of Indy, her landlord who had never met her in person but only on the phone, from her volleyball team mates. Everyone mentioned her smile, her cheerfulness, her devotion to her family, and her passion for making the world a better place. Like me, they all knew Robyn as a special person, even if they had only known her for a brief period of time.

Yesterday I learned something that Robyn would probably never have told me because she never bragged. In addition to mentoring the young lady for two years, Robyn paid her tuition for her first year of college. Following Robyn’s example her family is establishing a scholarship fund in her name to help other disadvantaged students.

Quoting from Stephen King, “Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

My world is certainly more drab and empty without Robyn and her contagious enthusiasm and smile.


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Quote of the Moment:

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.”
by Toni Morrison