Monday, July 19, 2010

525,600 minutes

Rent was one of Casey's favorite musicals-Di and I saw it about a month ago-Casey would always sing songs from the show including -"525,600 minutes--How does one measure a year"Do I measure it by the tears, the pain, the emptiness, the anger and bitterness , the disbelief, the wondering of what Casey thought and felt in those last seconds --tormenting myself over and over again thinking of why Casey -why us-there are so many other 22 year olds and so many other families--why Casey and why us? Continually running through my mind of all that Casey was cheated of and we who loved her were cheated of as well-- Graduation, profession, love , friendship, support, understanding,marriage ,children and the chance to experience all the good and bad that life has to offer-the joy and the tears- and the support of friends and family. All of these are and will be how I measure this past year.But I also measure the year by the incredible gifts I have received-from Di and Brett and my family(many of us who do not find it easy to share our thoughts and emotions), my friends, Casey's Fordham friends, Springfield friends, those extended families , the Colorado family, all those who have joined the network and continue to join and the countless strangers who have and continue to reach out to me after learning of my loss. All of the gifts I receive--seeing a pink bumper magnet on a car whose driver I do not recognize, receiving a kind and caring note, hearing a new Casey story, a because of Casey I will or a because of Casey I have and seeing another pink tree. Knowing that so many are thinking of us and Casey and so many will keep Casey's memory alive through words and deeds-- realizing that we can and we have collectively make the roadways a little safer for all of us, that we can and we have helped others perform acts of service, that we can and we have reached out to those less fortunate, provided greater comfort to those who are suffering losses -care more for people and animals-and have been better friends ,family members and people as a result of our tragedy. So the tears still come and go, the questions of why linger and may never be answered but there is much hope and promise and joy and love and some laughter as I look forward to the next 525,600 minutes and all the millions of minutes after... that "Casey's family" has to live life more fully, richly and generously .

One year later

Shortly after Casey's death I was so comforted by all of her friends for staying in touch with us as we grieved. The influence that Casey had on her friends and the influence that her friends had on her was evident-such kind, supportive, caring, generous people. When I prepared the 14 minute DVD for Casey so many of her friends gave so much of themselves by lettting all of us know how Casey had positively impacted their lives. That started the process of getting to know Casey's friends much much better. We collectively grieved , sharing Casey stories when we could talk and just looking at each other and hugging when we could not talk so easily. Tuesday nights at the Feldmans, events honoring Casey locally, Springfield and West Chester and staying in touch through the network site, e-mails and texting. I worried about how long Casey's friends would stay in touch, continue to care and involve us in their lives.One year later we still text, e-mail and gather for Tuedsay night dinners. We still share Casey stories and come together on special occassions to release pink balloons upward to Casey. Casey's friends are still, and will always be, Casey's friends but they are our friends now also. We have created our own relationships with Casey's friends that will endure into the future. These new and evolving relationships are so important to Di and I and enable us to look into a future without Casey's physical presence not as one of anger, despair, longing , emptiness, unfullfilled dreams and loss , but optomistically as a future filled with hope and promise . Hope and promise for us, for all who knew and loved Casey and all who did not know Casey but have learned of her life. We have been given an extraordinary gift by all of those who knew Casey-the greatest gift they could-allowing us and welcoming us to become part of their lives .