To Valerie… in memoriam

By isak, December 9, 2008

ValerieJust a nod to a woman I met this summer through an old high school friend. Her name is Valerie. Her sister-in-law from Montana sent her an email about a Hurricane Katrina survivor, a pony named Molly. Molly had been abandoned by her family as they fled the hurricane. In all the excitement of the events after Katrina had hit, she was placed in a pasture where many rescues were being taken. Somehow, a dog got into the pasture and attacked Molly. Her leg was so injured that it had to be amputated. Molly showed a certain resilience that over time caught the attention of her caretaker and made her wonder if Molly might be a good candidate for a prosthesis. Long story short, Molly was fitted with a prosthesis and took to it very well.

The story captured Valerie’s attention and she told Nancy the story. Nancy is a friend of mine from high school. We have not seen each other since probably graduation in 1974. Funny as it may seem, we both migrated from Delaware to Pennsylvania, then to Texas. Always near each other but never knew it. We connected this summer when she emailed me. Shortly after came an email from her about this horse named Molly.

Funny thing is I am a volunteer with a handicap equestrian center and Molly was coming to one of our facilities the coming weekend. As a matter of fact, Molly was arriving the next day and I was going to shoot some photos of her.

We were both blown away by the coincidence and the timing, so quick plans were made for Nancy and Valerie to come see Molly. It was a magical thing. You see, Valerie had cancer and wasn’t really expected to overcome it, so this was a special trip… almost like a “make a wish” moment.

So they came, watched the presentation of Molly, posed for photos with her and then we went to lunch and we talked like friends who had known each other forever. It was a really great day!

Nancy emailed me Thursday morning that Valerie had passed away a few hours earlier. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet her, especially under such a serendipitous occasion.