I am terribly sad to report that the friend I have mentioned in my last two posts passed away last night. Evie Spodnik played several roles in my life, including childhood teacher and adult friend. She followed her passions with a drive and enthusiasm that moved mountains.
When I was in fourth grade, I was privileged to be one of a few students chosen to participate in the THINK group led by Mrs. Fitzpatrick (as she was then known). Our very first project was to build a turkey skeleton. She told me later that she’d gone to a farm and asked them to save a carcass for her – that’s her to a T… incredibly fun and resourceful. Building that skeleton was unlike anything I had done before or since. She was a creative teacher who made learning fun. Somewhere I have a picture of us standing proudly by our fully constructed turkey – I couldn’t find it today, but I’ll post it when I do.
As I became an adult, Evie (as I then knew her) became a personal friend. We shared a passion for delving deeply into the mysteries of our lives. During a time when we both were working to shed our skin and emerge into a new life, snakes populated our conversations. She returned from a trip to Mexico with a snake charm for me. Today I pulled it out and took comfort in wearing it as a remembrance.
Thankfully I have been surrounded with love and support from the moment I found out last night. I was on the phone with a friend last night when my mom called with the news. Our conversation lasted for hours as I weaved my way in and out of memories of Evie. His presence and support was a gift that knows no measure.
This morning, my friend Jen came to visit. We’d been planning to get together this weekend to go hiking and attend 4th of July festivities. Thank goodness for the timing – Jen was amazing today. We talked and laughed and cried all day long. We went up the Lonesome Lake trail, which busted my butt significantly more than it had two weeks ago. Then Jen reminded me that I was working on about two hours of sleep. Puzzle solved.
The day ended with a wonderful swing band and a fireworks display in a nearby town. It was the perfect way to remember Evie. She would plan out the week of the 4th of July so she could attend as many fireworks shows as humanly possible. And then she watched with delight that was absolutely unparalleled in my experience – she would coo and squeal and moan with delight at every new color, shape, and pattern. Watching her watch fireworks was almost more fun than watching the show itself.
Here’s to you, Evie. I hope that this year you’re watching the fireworks from above, taking even more delight from a new perspective. I love you. I will miss you.