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Saturday, June 25, 2005

hi everyone!

uh... basically the last few days i've been really desperately wanting to blog, which i thought was weird. but i think it's that i wanted/want to feel connected to you guys. so. uh.

late wednesday night (june 22) one of the counselors at my camp died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. she had had a heart problem since birth (a missing aorta) and had had four open heart surgeries, but the doctors don't think that that had anything to do with it. it was just... one of those things.

her real name was allison, but at camp she was pippi, so that's how i'm going to talk about her. we all had a grief counselor on friday and she kept talking about "allison" and it was just making us all angry. so for those of you non-camp folk, sorry if it sounds ridiculous to keep using camp names, but... that's what we all chose, that's what we all know each other as, so that's what i'm going to use.

anyway. so we had this sudden staff meeting thursday morning right before breakfast, and chick pea told all of us and suddenly it was just this room full of sobbing women. we were all just stunned and pippi was just... this incredibly amazing person. she was really just the core of the staff. this was her third year as a counselor, and before that she was a cit for 2 years, and before that she was a camper forEVER. she and i went to the same session one year. she loved camp, she wanted to be a camp director when she grew up and she would have been a great one.

more than loving camp itself though, she loved all the people in it. she loved the camperrs and she loved the other counselors. she was so friendly and caring and welcoming to everyone. when i first went to the aca conference a few months before camp, i was nervous because i wouldn't know anyone, and it was mostly returning staff who all knew each other already. and when i walked into dinner (late, because i got lost) the only open seat was across from pippi. and after introductions, she said, "you know, we went to camp together one year." and i said "really?" and she said "yeah, night delight in 1998! a couple other counselors here went to that one too!" and we started chatting about what a coincidence that was, and i felt better. and then after dinner, she offered to ride back to the hotel with me in my car so i wouldn't be alone. and it was only a couple blocks, but it was just such a friendly pippi thing to do.

and everyone has stories like that. this isn't just like, "i have to say nice things about her because she's dead" this is like, "this is all stuff we talked about when she was alive because we were all kind of in awe of her."

the worst thing, though, was that we couldn't tell the girls. we had to go pretend like everything was fine, and if they asked where pippi was we had to say "she left camp." it was so awful. i mean, for the first few hours we had council volunteers come watch tht girls and stuff so that we could all sit around and hug each other, but after that... even befor that, i was trying to help sunflower set up crafts stuff because i felt like i should be useful, and i didn't want to keep sitting around crying, but a couple times sunflower and i kind of had to sit down and take crying/hugging breaks. but somehow we did it, the girls didn't catch on. part of it was because we knew we had to, and we knew that pippi would have wanted camp to keep running. but also... people heal fast. by thursday night we were all so exhausted and busy that we werre kind of giddy, even. doing our badgework was just hilarious because we thought *everything* was funny. and friday after work a bunch of us went out for dinner and we all just genuinely had a good time. and i know it's normal to heal and stuff, but at the same time it seems so weird that life's going on already. but it'll be different.

like, pippi had this song she'd always sing when she saw me... she did it randomly in the pool as i swam by, and i didn't even hear it and she thought that was hilarious, so she kept doign it... it was just "la la la la ZEL-DA" with ("zelda") in this creepy deep voice, and... i'm not going to hear that anymore. little things like that.

thumper and i had wednesday night off and we went to wal-mart. we knew pippi had been having kind of a stressful week so we got her a funny card, and when we got back to camp we snuck into the dining hall to put it into her staff mailbox so it would be there for her in the morning. and pippi's never going to see that card.

a couple of the new counselors and i were talking about how we felt almost guilty abiout our grief because we've known her so relatively short, when some of the other counselors have literally been working with her for five years. but it just didn't take long at all to get attached to her.

it's both a blessing and a curse that the staff is so close. i know that last time i blogged i mentioned a few things that annoyed me about a few counselors, but seriously, they're all amazing women. and there are like, 25? 26? staff, so we all get to know each other very well. and so we've been amazingly supportive of each other and it's lovely. but at the same time, one person missing out of that small family is just a huge hole.

if this whole entry seems kind of disjointed, well, i'm kind of disjointed right now...

oh. and here's her obituary.

by the way, i know i always feel awkward leaving comments on entries like this, so i will just say that i would appreciate any comments on this at all. i just want to know someone has read this and tha tyou guys are out there. and i know people aren't checking my blog too often because i'm gone, so if you read this two weeks from now, please still comment if you want. and if all you've got to say is "i don't know what to say, i'm sorry" that's valid and fine.

i think that's all i want to say. before this i'd been having a great summer. and i think i'm still going to have a great summer. just different.

also, i miss you guys.

posted by ~renata~ at 9:54 AM
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