Holly rose early Tuesday morning to a glorious, crisp and sun-drenched vision of an October day in Atlanta. When she opened the front door of her perfectly appointed Victorian to get her Atlanta Journal Constitution, she stopped to gaze out over the vast array of centuries-old oaks to check for signs of autumnal colors.
Sipping her Constant Comment tea, Holly thought about all the phone calls she would make during the day. Looming mid-term elections had her docket filled with final-stretch minutiae. Her political consultancy, which allowed her to pay her bills, was never more demanding than during an October in an election year.
Disgusted by the lack of new information in the scant pages of her city's once-dominant southeastern rag, Holly tossed the newspaper aside and headed for the shower.
Tomorrow I must start planning for Thanksgiving, she thought as she shampooed her silver bob. I'll have to get through Halloween first, though: decorations for the front porch, candy, a pumpkin to carve. Sigh. I should have gotten up earlier. Don't forget you have to meet Jane and Susan for dinner at Parish tonight.
Holly did meet her neighbor/friends that evening. When they had finished their leisurely meal they were walking toward the exit of the restaurant when Holly suddenly collapsed onto the floor. She was rushed by ambulance to the hospital less than two miles away. She had suffered a massive stroke.
Last night, after her son and ex-husband and other relatives arrived from other cities, Holly was removed from life support. Her neighbors had held a candlelight vigil the night before outside her forlorn, seemingly saddened blue house with mauve and grape trim. The preparations were complete and Holly was allowed to finish what she started on Tuesday. She never regained consciousness.
Holly was my neighbor. I've known her on a business basis since the late 1990s, when I was the AT&T Community Relations Director in the Southeast and she was calling me in her capacity of fund raiser for one of the Atlanta mayoral candidates. We were not friends, but we smiled and waved at each other almost every day. She was my age -- 65.
I made up some of the details of the past two days. It was easy enough to do. Every single day that any one of us wakes up and goes about the usual daily routine could end the way Holly's did. I heard the wakeup call.
REST IN PEACE, HOLLY