Wednesday dawned in Kennebunkport with blue skies, steady sunshine and a gentle breeze coming off the Atlantic — an iconic and lovely August morning in Maine. At 10 AM, I stood amidst a hushed crowd of almost 300 people gathered on the Village Green near Ganny’s Garden, a rainbow of roses, daisies and astilbe, planted and named for former First Lady Barbara Bush.
But this gathering was not about the Bush family who enhance the character and reputation of the Kennebunks. We gathered to honor a young woman, Elizabeth Condon, who died before she had one strand of grey in her long blonde hair. She was mourned by her large family and legions of friends, including beautiful young women in summer pinks, handsome guys sporting Vineyard Vines ties, all stunned by their sudden and unexpected loss.
The service was poignant, sad and special. We learned Liz had recently ridden the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster — and loved it. I remember thinking, that says so much about her — daring, spirited and full of life.
When I got home, I sat at my kitchen island and wrote a note of condolence to Liz’s mother Susan, a knitting buddy. I then realized it was the third such note I’d written that week.
On Monday I had penned words of sympathy to my friend Sandy Rollings whose husband Scott died from a massive, unforeseen heart attack at their home in Highlands, North Carolina. Only months ago, we four enjoyed cocktails and dinner in Florida. Bob and I laughed with this smiling gentleman and his beautiful wife, ruing our various aches and pains, determined they would not keep us off the golf course.
Then on Tuesday, I wrote Joanne, a treasured pal in Washington, D.C., searching for words that could express my sadness for the loss of her husband, Frank Lavin. We couples are winter buddies at our gated community in south Florida, and have shared restaurant tables countless times. Plus, Frank and I were “range rats.”
So often, late in the afternoon in Florida, I would head to the practice range at our club to work on my short game. Unfailingly, Frank, a handsome gentle soul with a spicy wit, would be there hitting his driver and woods, hoping to hone his accuracy, longing to lower his handicap. When either of us decided we’d hit enough practice balls, we would walk back to our golf carts and holler to the other, “Now that I’ve mastered those shots….watch out world!”
The sun shines less brightly today here in the Kennebunks and, I’m sure, in Highlands and Washington, D.C. Three lives were cut short, three beautiful lives with no connection to each other except the grief I feel for their families. Three lives gone — one too young, the others not old enough.
It’s been written:“Sometimes only one person is missing and the whole world seems depopulated.” Even truer when it’s three.