Coping With Loss

I've seen many kinds of loss over the past month. I've lost a good friend. A childhood icon died. A favorite radio station shut down without warning. It's not like I haven't lost people, or radio stations, or favorite actors before. I've just never lost them all at once, and I'm not sure how to cope.

A friend passed away on February 25th, from complications involving childbirth. I don't know what to say or do. I didn't know last year, either, when my grandmother died. My friend was a cherished member of the Remember WENN online fandom. She loved British royalty and American swing and jazz. She loved reading and writing and Remember WENN. She was devoted to her husband and their young daughter. And now her new son will never know her.

Our meetings were mostly on the WENN chats or via e-mail, but I did encounter her twice in person. She and her husband were passing through North Cape May the first time, about three years ago. Since they were among the few WENN fans who lived reletively near me, I was delighted to meet them. They treated me to dinner at a nice Italian restarant, and we had a great time. I met her again when she arranged and hosted the 2001 Remember WENN Convention in New York City. She was an energetic and intelligent hostess, and I had a wonderful time with her and everyone.

It's easier to think of her during that delightfully hectic weekend than not being with us. I have Mom's memories to remind me of Grandma. When my stepmother passed away from cancer three years ago, I told myself that I had the teddy bear she gave me to remind me of her. I have the WENN fanzines to remind myself of my friend. I made her the fanfiction author of the month at the Writer's Room site. I don't know how else to honor her memory, and I don't think she'd want anything maudlin.

Two days later, Fred Rogers, whose long-running PBS TV show was a favorite of mine as a small girl, died of stomach cancer. He was much older than my friend, but his death is almost as startling. As a child, I probably would have counted him as a friend. He seemed like (and, from all accounts, was) the sweetest, kindest gentleman in the world. His puppets and songs delighted me well into my later grade school years, and even later in his "appearance" on the PBS cartoon "Arthur". A little piece of my childhood will always rest with him and that little red trolley, somewhere in a neighborhood where cats talk and kings rule.

WMID wasn't the first southern New Jersey easy listening radio station to capture my attention, then vanish without a trace. WRDR, a similarly formatted station, became a Spanish-language station not long after I started spring break in 1999. WRDR was the background to many a rainy day at college spent writing stories or doing homework, and I was delighted to discover WMID late last year. It played the exact same music as WRDR, easy listening and soft rock standards by folks like Natalie Cole and Frank Sinatra that often can't be found on FM radio. Imagine my shock when, two days ago, I tuned in to WMID and discovered that it was transmitting another station. I don't know what happened, or why, but WMID seems to be gone, replaced by yet another top 40 station that plays the exact same music as every other top 40 station. You'd think the nostalgia format would be more popular, with all the old people around here, but I guess not...

I hate losing things, or people, or places. I'm so possesive, I want to hang on to things forever, but I know we can't. People aren't like my stuffed animals, but we can always look back and remember...and look forward and hope...

Return to The Front Porch.