Category Archives: Death

Wayne

Wayne and me 2013

On September 15, 2006 I joined a group of bloggers in a 365 project where we’d write about someone we knew in as many words as our current age. Through that project I met many wonderful people and through those people I ended up meeting Wayne McNeill.

Regardless of when I first met Wayne, for years I thought his name was Deloney because that’s the name he blogged under. He was pretty much the only male in our group of bloggers. On one of his now-gone blogs he writes: “As of this month I’ve been blogging for seven years. And what do I have to show for it? Chicks! Some really hot chicks! Fame has eluded me but my words were not wasted. 🙂” referring, I think, to his group of women followers.

Unfortunately he deleted most of his blogs. I think the only one left is Green Moleskine Notebook. Also, if you know the URLs of his old blogs, you can find some posts on the Wayback Machine. I plan to copy as many posts as I can and save them somewhere.

Wayne and I interacted through his blogs and friends’ blogs. Since May 2009 most of our interactions have been through Facebook — status pages and Facebook’s Messenger. Until just now I didn’t realize how many times we’d chatted.

Wayne was a poet. His writing could make me laugh. It could also make me cry. It was always wonderful, insightful and delightful. His book, Songbook for Haunted Girls and Boys, was full of his prose-poetry, each poem exquisite.

Wayne was a loving husband to Beth who he lost about 4 years ago. In a FB chat message to me shortly after Beth’s death, he wrote: “To this day I don’t really know what it was. From day one Beth and I clicked. It’s not as though every day was perfect. We had our rows like everyone does. But not once in 34 years did we ever consider breaking up. We were slowly turning into the same person, which is why it’s so hard for me to be without her now.

We met in September 2013 when Dean and I were in Niagara Falls, Canada for a few days and drove to Toronto to have drinks with him and Beth. Wayne and I spoke on the phone shortly before Beth’s death, just after he’d taken her to the emergency room and learned that she had terminal cancer. I was awake at about one in the morning when he posted his phone number on Facebook asking for someone to call him.

Wayne left this world on May 22, 2021 and I learned of it in the past couple of weeks. He left it far too early for me, but perhaps too late for him. I don’t think he ever got over losing Beth. He never seemed to be the same in his Facebook posts.

Gone

Note that I started writing this less than a week after she died. I’ve not been able to return to it. Until now.

In my first true and vivid memory of her, we sat across from each other in a booth at a drugstore, probably Walgreens in Elgin. It must have been February because her birthday was close. She confided in me that she would soon no longer be a teenager and it made her sad. I must have been 9 if she was turning 20. I don’t recall my reaction. Maybe I was sad too.

There are earlier memories, but only snippets: hearing the raccoons in the trash cans outside the cabin in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin and being worried it was bears; being concerned about her when she had her tonsils removed; going to see the bears at the dump in Arbor Vitae.

The real memories came later. Being junior bridesmaid at her wedding; visiting her and Uncle Jack at their homes: Walnut Avenue and Marguerite Street in Elgin, Lor Ann Drive in South Elgin and finally Ironwood Bluff Road in Fulton, Mississippi.

I always found time to visit with her when I went back to Elgin. Usually, we spent a day shopping, having lunch, visiting. Once or twice we even stayed with her and Uncle Jack, probably because our regular sleeping quarters were full of people.

She visited me after we moved out east at least twice. Once was for an inaugural ball when she flew out with my mom and my brother. The other time(s) was(were) just to play tourist.

My last memories of being with her are full of birds, insects, laughter, cats, reminiscing, and a battlefield.

When Uncle Jack called to tell me she’d died just after Christmas in 2016 it was as if someone had punched me in my stomach. We were on our way back from the beach. I cried in front of my children — something I’d not done before. I had questions: How could that have happened? (answer: diabetes) Why didn’t anyone tell me that she’d been so ill? (she didn’t want you to know). When is the funeral? (there won’t be one).

I finally wrote my uncle, her husband, a letter. He called me last night and we talked about a lot of things, but not about how much we both missed her. That would have hurt too much. Despite having lost other aunts and uncles, my beloved grandparents, and both my parents, this is the loss that I will never get over.

Aunt Ginny — you are missed.

Aunt Ginny in Profile

Not part of my personal declutter, but part of things I found at my mom’s — a silhouette of a young girl with a barrette that I believe is of my Aunt Ginny. I remember that this hung on a wall at my Grandma Green’s house — possibly in her bedroom. And I believe I remember her telling me it was of Aunt Ginny when she was a child. It looks like her profile.

Yesterday was Aunt Ginny’s birthday. She would have been 72 years old.