Sunday, May 15, 2016

Losing a Friend

Dear Jules,
It's been a while, and I need to post about a lot of things- to remind myself, I want to post all of my research about inclusion and also about running and body image.  But right now, all I can think about is my colleague, Conseula--and since that's a hard name for you to say, you might remember her better by this:
We didn't spend too much time with her, unfortunately, but let me tell you--she got so very excited every time she saw you.  I remember the first English Day, when I brought you with me, and she insisted on holding you the entire time.  "I looove holding babies!" she said, completely at ease with this show of emotion in an academic setting.  Every time she saw you, she would come in for a hug; even this year, when she was the associate provost of our College, she stooped down to hug you if ever she saw you.  I know she was busy and super-important, but she never let that get in the way of her feelings, her passion.

Sometimes I feel awkward as an academic.  I think I can't get too excited about what I'm reading, and I definitely can't admit to reading "trash," or people will think less of me.  I also remember talking about an article she was working on concerning the place of emotion in literary analysis.  And that's the thing about her: she was smart as a whip, she could talk jargon until the cows came home, but she also was okay with excitement, with reading romance novels, with squealing in the middle of English Day when she saw a baby to hold.

So many people were closer to her than I, and I feel guilty for even writing this.  After all, many people could memorialize her so much more effectively.  Other than the random run-ins with her (just recently, I dropped my wallet on the street and she brought it in to your preschool so that I would get it), and a short period of time during which she and her husband borrowed our car, we did not get to see her enough.   I do remember when I was interviewing for my job, and she took me to breakfast, and we just had so much fun chatting.  It was one of the moments that, for me, crystallized my decision to teach at the College.  Later, she guest lectured for my classes whenever I needed her to and got my students excited about Octavia Butler and comic books.

But I'm writing this because I want you, when you're older, to remember this person, and to remember how much, and how unconditionally, she loved you.  I'm sure you will get to know her daughter, who will one day be one of your babysitters (I'm getting there, Frances!  We are super bad about going out).  And I know you will see a lot of her in Frances, and you will see, through her amazing daughter, how much love, intelligence, passion, and conviction this person had.  I'm grateful that Frances--and Cate, too--live near us and are a part of our lives because I want you to get to know them.  She lives on in them and, some day, I hope that a bit of her will live on in you.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jules,
    My name is Brian and I'm Conseula's husband. Actually, I'm what's called her widower. I'm sure that your mom can go into more detail explaining what a widower is. Right now, I don't want to talk about me. What I actually want to talk about is how much Conseula loved you. When we first met you, all she could talk about was how beautiful you were. Later, as you began to grow up, she always talked about how curious and cheerful you always were, and how happy you always made her. She liked you so much that you made her want to have another little girl. One just like you. Jules, thank you for bring do much joy to Conseula's life.