Sunday, March 23, 2008

Miss you, Yo!

Why do prick politicians get 30-inch obits and sweet, honest and caring people only get an inch?

I thought about this recently, while attending a memorial service for Yolanda Smith (aka “Yo” and “Grandma Yo” and “Numero Uno”). Two other thoughts crossed my mind: There’s nothing sadder than a loving person stretched out lifeless in a wooden box; and some people should live forever.

Shortly after my book came out, I got a card from Yolanda. I called to thank her, and we ended up getting together for lunch. Immediately, I was struck by how smart, kind and funny she was. She was a real cool girl.

After our lunch, Yolanda and I kept in touch. She stopped by book signings, brought me cookies and bought books for friends and family. She mailed me cards. I’d call her and ask about her sons, bowling league and health. (She’d been fighting cancer for a few years.)

The last time we talked, Yolanda and I agreed to go to her bowling league together one Monday night at Sam’s Town. We never got the chance. A few days later, her sister called and told me she’d died.

Yolanda Smith’s obit said she was 76 years old and a homemaker. It said she’s survived by her sons, Mike, Gary and Mark. What it didn’t – and couldn’t – say was how many people she touched with her kindness, generosity and class. Too many to mention, I’m sure.

I miss you, Yo! Thanks for everything.

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