Hit by a car when she left a store.
And there really are no words to describe a loss like this. Words like tragic, horrible and awful aren’t enough.
I haven’t stopped thinking about her and her family since then. Her husband and her two girls. Especially her girls. The older one was born the month before my son. She just turned 16. Her younger daughter is just 12.
And I’ve been checking Martha’s Facebook page every few hours to look at pictures that have been uploaded. And to read all of the posts from people who, like me, have spent the past few days fumbling around in the disbelief that she is gone.
The memories have been coming hard.
We spent a good part of the 1990’s together. Living near each other in Manhattan.
I remember dancing in her newlywed apartment to the Counting Crows’ The Rain King. It was Christmas time. And it was just one of those nights that you never forget. Last year, I wrote about my memories of that night and Martha emailed me in response and said, “ I remember this night as vividly as you do and it reminds me that I believe if I had only one wish it would be that we could time travel.”
A few years later, our maternity leaves overlapped and we passed the time together, trying to figure out how to be mothers. Getting together at each other’s apartments. Taking our babies out to lunch. Milkshakes and french fries at City Bakery. Fried chicken salad at the Noho Star.
And then wondering why we couldn’t lose our pregnancy weight.
I stayed with her for a night the summer I separated from my husband. She was a great listener and just being with her made me feel better. We went to the Mercer Kitchen in Soho and sat at the bar. We pretended we were music producers. I had, what was at the time, a technologically advanced MP3 player. We had one earbud in my ear and the other in hers. And sat there drinking and critiquing what we were listening to. Thinking we were cool. Knowing that we were not.
One of my favorite memories is from a day we were in Bergdorf’s. Four friends in the shoe department. Feeling giddy at all being together. A whippet, on a leash, strolled by. Without missing a beat, Martha, with that smile on her face, trying to get the words out before she cracked herself up, declared, “Whip it good.”
I haven’t looked at a whippet the same ever since.
I hadn’t spoken to Martha in a while but we emailed some. Even her emails made me smile.
Last year, she wrote me one that had a numbered list of 13 things she wanted to tell me. She called it “data-dumping” and said she had to write it that way “so I actually get this written and sent because it’s become abundantly clear that I edit everything to death–seriously, I even rewrite phone messages.”
Number one on the list was “I love you.”
Number one on the list I wrote in response to her? “I love you too.”
And I know that hundreds of people love her like I do.
She was a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister and a friend.
She touched so many people with her humor, her beauty, her unique way of looking at the world and her laughter.
What a laugh. Full-throated and full bodied. I can hear it. I’ve been hearing it in my head for the last few days.
And I can’t believe that she is gone.
I keep thinking that there is no way to feel better about this. About her being gone.
And that I don’t know what else to do other than to write about her. And share my memories of her.
That and travel up to Brooklyn this week to be with the many others, touched by Martha in her way-too-short life of 48 years, who have their own memories to share. I think that will help.
I’ll always love you my friend.