That It Will Never Come Again
by Emily Dickinson
That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Believing what we don’t believe
Does not exhilarate.
That if it be, it be at best
An ablative estate —
This instigates an appetite
I grew up surrounded by girl cousins and two sisters. I was younger than all of them and all were better athletes. I spent my entire childhood trying to keep up, whether it was in school and academics or back packing, climbing mountains, skiing, running, playing softball, climbing trees, swimming or tennis, I knew that women were not my equal, they were better. Having grown up thinking this group of women were invincible, its shocking that one of us is gone, a sudden, unexpected death. It doesn’t fit into the way the world works. In your mid 50’s we become accustomed to dealing with death; the death of parents, aunts and uncles, but not a first cousin so close in age. It is a clarion call of how fragile life can be and how to not waste time on trivial squabbles. Instead focus on what is important in our families, love.
Darla was the youngest of the Fritch girls and closest to me in age, sympathetic to both the fun and challenges of two older sisters. When we were young, she always kept an eye on me and made me feel special when we visited. As married adults, our families went on many ski strips together, my two kids and her two kids close in age. We shared winter vacations where we all crashed together in one cabin, cooked together, played games, went swimming and enjoyed the wonderful playful exhaustion that only comes from a day of downhill skiing.
Darla lived a good life. She raised two fine sons with a loving husband, contributed to her community, was an excellent professor and mentor to her students. She was fit and smart and took care of her body. She enjoyed her life with joy right up until the end, having just come back from a back packing trip in the Big Horns in Wyoming.
Life isn’t supposed to end when we are having this much fun. Isn’t that the hope for everyone of us? That regardless of our age, our loved ones will say, it was too soon. Darla’s death leaves an impossible void to fill, so unique is her beautiful life and warmth of personality. Her legacy is as wide as her smile. Her life and memory are a blessing to all who had the good fortune to know and love her, we shall miss you dearly.
Darla Baumgarten (1960 – 2019)
by Henry Timrod