I knew it when I heard it at 5:30 Friday morning. Nothing good ever comes by text at that hour of the morning. I put on my glasses and fumbled for the phone. Message from Cindy.
"Our Angel is in Heaven."
Alicia Weimer passed away at around 4 AM. I spoke with Ronnie before I left for work that day. He allowed as how everybody was doing "pretty good." After all, she had suffered greatly the last couple of weeks. Nobody wants that for a loved one. Better that they go on in peace rather than to exist in pain.
She was diagnosed with the myeloma last September. I met them on November 6th. I had it in my head that it was sometime in October. During one of our last conversations, Alicia wanted me to find out the exact date. It was important to her. I recalled that I had met them at the hospital on my way to shooting the Unity Walk for Just Communities of Arkansas. I called ny friend Kerri who organizes the damn thing. She confirmed it.
November 6. We almost made it a year.
It is hard to comprehend. A little over a month ago we were out for dinner on Ronnie's birthday. She had put on some makeup. She was energized and happy.
Now this. And so fast. I had hoped to see her again before she passed. But as my friend Susan said, Alicia and I had said our goodbyes that night at UAMS.
There is that.
Tomorrow I fly to New Orleans and then head over to Thibodaux where I will pay tribute to a brave little lady who taught me a lot at a time in my life when I needed a teacher.
During our last conversation that night at UAMS, I reminded her of how we ended our first meeting, the one where all she and Ronnie knew was that some guy from Tulane named Paul was coming by.
She had taken my hands and said, "God has sent you here."
"I prefer a simpler explanation," was my response.
"You don't understand," she replied. "I need to see the hand of God in everything now."
Alicia nodded her head at the recollection of our first meeting.
"I still need to see the hand of God in everything," she said. "Even now."
It is my hope that Alicia is now face to face with the God that sustained her both in Little Rock and at the hour of her death.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
No MSF tomorrow.
Talk amongst yourselves.