Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
January 17, 2019
By Pat Edwards
It’s just not fair! It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about paying a visit in Vancouver, Washington, to my brother as part of his own Celebration of Life. Knowing he was dying, he wanted to reach out to as many family and friends as possible… not necessarily to say goodbye, but to have the opportunity to tell each of them how much they have meant to him throughout his life. It meant so much to me to have those last two visits with him. He quietly passed less than a week after my final visit.
It was comforting to me at the time to be asked to share part of his journey with him and I feel so fortunate to have been able to discuss so many of our memories together as well as learn some of his own stories that he had never told me. In a way, I felt it was a cleansing and I will be eternally grateful to him for giving me that opportunity.
Two weeks ago, I learned of another dear person in my life who was suddenly and unexpectedly placed in hospice care. More tragically still, I just learned, after finishing the rough draft of this piece, that she passed early this morning, Thursday, January 17. My heart is aching.
Veneta’s own Sandy Larson had been a friend of mine for about 8 years since we met after I became involved with Groundwaters magazine. We didn’t have the chance to get together very often, but we had a casual email correspondence through her work with the Fern Ridge Library and mine as the one who printed their newsletters each month.
As one of the most respected reporters for the Fern Ridge Review, she interviewed me several times concerning various events and activities I was involved in. I quickly formed a huge respect for her abilities as not only a writer, but whose work ethic and care of detail in her writing assignments were exemplary. Whenever she interviewed me for a Fern Ridge Review article, she paid attention to all that I offered and double-checked anything she was not sure of so that each article was right on-point in honesty and accuracy. I marveled at the amount of time and effort she expended in running down stories and attending events to provide the most comprehensive news features possible for the paper and the community.
In addition, I respected her so much for her willingness to take on the civic responsibilities for the City of Veneta. In that regard, she was extremely modest. Whenever I would introduce her to someone and mention that she was Veneta’s mayor, she would downplay her role as no more than someone who loves her community and is willing to work to make it better.
I had lunch with Sandy not too long ago at Our Daily Bread. She wanted to go over some details of an article she was writing, and I found myself thinking about how much I enjoyed it and how we should take the time to meet more frequently on a social basis.
She talked about how excited she was about a new history project for Veneta that she was looking forward to working on. It was obvious how much she loved her community.
After hearing about her diagnosis, I was hoping to visit Sandy as I did with my brother, but a persistent cold prevented me from setting up a time. I did write her a note to let her know how much respect I have long held for her and what she has meant to me as a friend over the years.
Sandy Larson had a life that is truly worth celebrating. I’m just sorry that we had to say goodbye so soon. Godspeed, Sandy… I will miss you, my friend.