Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This post wasn't supposed to happen until Saturday, and then it was going to be called "Carnage Hall" wherein I mock myself for the typo in the post below.

There are a lot of deals I would be willing to make with powers that be for that to be the dumb post I am writing today.

My heart is wrenched.



I hope it's okay if I share this here. I think we have only begun to tap into what this blog universe is supposed to be, but I have always just wanted my blog to be between you and me. It's about me. It’s about how much I like my life, my kids, my family, and you.

And today I feel so pathetically sorry for myself. I know I should probably go find a therapist to talk to instead, but when i woke up this morning, i can't help but feel like you guys will understand.

I lost a friend on Sunday. She was killed with her husband on the 405 in a senseless motorcycle accident involving no other vehicles, but what seems to be a mechanical error in the back wheel.

She was a young grandmother and leaves behind four devastated daughters and the grandchildren she was helping to raise.

I don't know if i can tell you what she has meant to me. I have my feet in all these rich and wonderful worlds, from my Utah life to my California life and everything in between.

Debi wasn't really in any of those. She was the shining light in the complicated little sliver of my "mormon life." That world is so independent from anything else i have, so much so, that when jon got home and told me the news yesterday he didn't even know what he was telling me.

It's not news to anyone that reads this blog that i am a little tortured making heads or tails of my spiritual journey on this planet. This crap is hard for me in my over analytical brain and general stubbornness about organized religion, and yet i seemed to have found a loop hole.

I teach the sunbeams. The four and five year olds, fresh out of nursery. They never give you a canned answer, if you're not looking they will ransack your bag for goldfish crackers while you set up the lesson, and they will tell you, no holds barred, about how their "grandpa got sick and DIED, and then they buried him in the GROUND, but now he lives with JESUS" before they ask if they can please, PLEASE, draw on the chalkboard.

Recently, because i have small weirdo's of my own, my attendance had become a little hit or miss and i found out they had called me a co-teacher. I was totally bummed because i didn't know if i could teach with a co-teacher, if it would bother her that i sit on the ground and eat snacks while recreating bible stories with stick figures, who sometimes have to die gruesome stick figure deaths to reach the moral of the story.

Then they told me it was Debi. Literally the only person whose name I know outside of the primary, and who is the first person i met in the ward when we decided to brave a church BBQ a couple weeks after we moved to California. I have liked her ever since she walked up to us that cheerful sunny day, introduced herself and pointed across the tables to a tall silver-ponytailed biker dude and told us that was her man. She also told us, something i will never forget, as the Activities Director it was her duty to inform us to try the beans. She wasn't in charge of them, but she did just have some, and (leaning in to whisper), "they are totally kick ass." 

From then on, though i have a tendency to sneak in and out of the church building since I go alone with two young kids (no pity needed, you should see the way the house sparkles when we get home), well, four out of five times she would catch me and say semi wicked things and then tell me she better see my butt in church again next week.

She was a safe harbor for me in a landscape that is tricky for me. When she became my co-teacher in the last couple months, it's some of the most fun I've ever had at church in my life.

I am not broken hearted.

I am mad.

I resent talking about her in the past tense when i JUST saw her.

She is still so vibrant and authentic in my brain, i keep having this terrible and overwhelming instinct to warn her not to go on that motorcycle ride.

For someone who claims to be so ambivalent about religion or a specific god type person watching over each of us, when I heard this news, in a flash, despite all my intellectual hang ups with the concept, i suddenly became SO MAD AT HIM, and then decided, since I guess we are speaking again, to really let him have it!

Since then I have spent the last 15 hours crying my eyes out and sitting in awe of the intense depth of my belief in Him in that moment.

There is not a power in the world that can make me turn this unique and invincible woman's untimely death into my personal religion story, and don't tell me there is a purpose in this loss, because I'm not interested.


I need it to be true anyway.

And i need it to mean something that the same church she made me feel safe in, will, RIGHT NOW,  carry her and her kick ass husband, in their hand basket, STRAIGHT to Heaven.

I love you debi. And I will miss you so much.

Love, alissa


Lorraine said...

Sorry Sissa.

Every time church sucks, or beans taste like ass, or you think about not going to church ever again and you remember she told you she better see your butt here next week, her vibrant authentic self will still be here. Memories keep people here that are gone. especially yours, because you always remember the things people actually like being remembered for. I'm sure you were an island of repite for her too. I'm glad she had you in her life. Love you.

Jack Major said...

If you ever want to talk about it more feel free, she seems like a wonderful person, so unfortunate. My prayers are with her family.

Wendy said...

Alissa: I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Debi. It breaks my heart that someone so dear to you and such a great example has exited your life. I know she will look down and watch over you. Please know that Heavenly Father loves you. He knows your pain and is there to comfort you and bring you peace. I will pray for you. You are a beautiful child of God. We all love you. Wendy Wilcox

Aimee said...

I love you, Sis. I'm so sorry for this hurt and loss. And I echo everything Lorraine said. Making connections as simple yet soul-satisfying as the one you describe with Debi is how we are healed in a hard, hard world. I hope that you will continue to find friends to soothe your heart through this and life's other hardships. How grateful I am to Debi for having been a refuge for you in this tricky part of your life and for the influence her kindness will continue to have as you strive to keep those wonderful peculiarities of her spirit alive.