Days 20-25…Reconnecting, Thankfulness, and Looking Up!

 Apologies in advance as this is a very wordy (even for my tastes), and very long thank you letter to Tricia McCauley, and our dear friends who gathered over this past weekend to say farewell to her Act I, and on with the show for her Act II. 

It was sad to have to say goodbye to you, dear friend, Tricia McCauley, this past weekend.

As much as I hate to admit that I haven’t ‘made it big’ out west as a government employee digging in the soil, I wouldn’t have been able to make it out from California to be with you and all our dear friends without the help of one very dear, very special person to me, Bradley Bannon, my brother from another mother (Becky Bannon)

Brad made this past weekend possible for me by helping me out with my airfare out to the east coast.

You picked me up from the airport, you caffeinated me, you housed me, you drove the entire way to and from Myrtle, providing endless Lost Boys Soundtrack and Michael Jackson songs to drown out the pain of losing our dear friend. You made it possible to stay at Chez Becky Bannon’s B & B (Thank you so much, Mrs. Bannon!)

I am forever in your debt, Brad.

No words. 

Tricia, I so wish I’d made time to get down to D.C. in the early 2000’s, like Brad did in the mid to late 90’s, when my partner in this life, Chihiro Koshimizu Mather, and I lived in Pennsylvania.  I was going to grad school then, and we were just a ‘hop, skip, and a jump away’ from you. 

You would have loved Chihiro. 

She has alot of the same spirit and zest for life like you. 

She loves the theatre too. 

You two would have hit it off I’m sure.  

Brad called me the day we all found out that you wouldn’t be coming back to this Act. 

That you had experienced a very painful and unnecessary exit from your first Act. 

There are no words to describe your pain, and the pain we all felt for you in that scene. 

It still haunts Brad, and all of us. 

We weep and wail, strive and struggle to understand such violence visited on such a caring, nurturing, beautiful soul like you, Tricia. 

The beautiful memorial service on Saturday that was led by your dear friend, and mine, our amazingly inclusive, amazingly kind, and amazingly generous classmate, Amy Altz, is beyond words, just beyond beautiful.

Her tribute to you, Tricia, which I know you heard and felt, was so moving, and so fitting to the life you so well lived, and so well loved down here. 

Thank you, dear Amy. Thank you so much for doing that for Tricia.

Your words helped us all heal more that day, more than any other since late December. 

Thank you. Absolutely priceless.

Tricia, I have to say, you’re starting to really make me believe that there are no goodbyes, as your memory and smile and light shone brightly and brilliantly on us all on Saturday, February 11th, as you brought us all together, first, in that lobby at the Surfside Resort.

Your beautiful pictures taken by the incredibly talented, Tammy Raabe, also our dear classmate, and placed into that gorgeous frame by our dear friend, Raouf Hilal, just months before you passed on to your next Stage, are also beyond words to describe their profound impact on all of us. 

I can just hear the Universe Director saying ‘Tricia, exit Stage Left, but get ready for Act II! You only have a few minutes to change your costume!’ 

And to all of us, this same director is saying ‘You haven’t seen anything yet in terms of the magnitude of Tricia’s life, and what it will mean to countless other lives who strive to be just like her!’

Count me in as one of the countless.

Tricia, you are so sorely missed down here.

My heart goes out to all of us who gathered this weekend to remember you.

From Amy Altz, who organized the majority of our events, and kept us all informed and organized so wonderfully to get us to that lobby and beach in Surfside, and the Gulf Stream Cafe.

Both your laugh, Amy, and Tricia’s are fused now I think 🙂

Please never stop laughing…either of you.

To Sabrina Todd, who, no doubt, behind the scenes made much of the details of the weekend happen including the ‘Fellowship of the Egg’ (Brad’s photo caption inspired me to go Tolkien) ;0…

In theaters next December… lol! 

Thank You, dear Sabrina! 

So great to see you again! 

To Leigh Ammons Meese, who managed many of the behind the scene details too of the weekend, including food and drink arrangements, and the amazing communicating with Tricia’s dear parents and brother, Brian, accepting some of Tricia’s earthly ashes which you so beautifully scattered into the wind, Leigh, and had us all…look up. 

That is a moment I will never forget, as long as I have breath, a moment to pause and remember how cyclical yours, and my, and all of our existences are here on this planet. 

Thank you my dear friend, Leigh. Thank you.

Let us all look up, and remember to be kind, and to hold onto each other, as your brother, Brian, said to us all after your passing. 

I know you would want us to keep doing that. 

Kenneth Mitchell put it so beautifully, and I am going to mess it up exactly what he said, but I know you heard him perfectly, something to the effect of, you are now one with the universe, Tricia.

Thank you, dear Ken. 

And thank you for searching out those amazing plants at Huntington State Park that Tricia no doubt was with you on those ‘permaculture missions’. 

Thank you too for carrying Tricia’s beautiful agricultural ‘torch’ there in Upstate South Carolina while caring for your mother. You are a good man. 

It’s an honor to know you.

To Raouf Hilal, as mentioned, putting those fantastic photos of Tricia in a frame, and just being you, a rock to all of us as we wept for Tricia, on the beach. 

And also for giving us all flower petals to cast into the wind to follow Tricia’s ashes. So beautiful. Thank you, dear friend, Raouf. Thank you.

To Darlene Fogg, my dear classmate and friend, who drove over 7 hours from her home and her two young daughters, and partner, to be with us and share in Tricia’s life.

It was so good to see you, Darlene. 

Thank you, dear friend, for being there for Tricia. 

To Jenn Cribb, who also shared in our sorrow missing you, and reminding us to laugh as only she and Bradley Bannon could, being the wittiest (superlative infused) amongst our classmates at Socastee High. 

Thank you for your kindness, and the love you expressed for Tricia, and all of us.

To Jennifer Van Houten, for sharing your thoughts on Tricia, especially your Maui and Sons wall art talent photo with me 🙂 Impressive! 

Definitely Tricia approved 🙂 

Your presence on Saturday was just so appreciated, and I know Tricia was smiling above on you, her dear friend. 

Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you so much. Was wonderful to see you and reconnect after all these years.

And to someone I’ve just met, but feel a kinship and kindness with…

Harold, Amy’s ‘rock and fortress’, her partner in this life and someone who knew Tricia from the many visits Tricia would make down south to Florida over the years of Amy and Tricia knowing each other. 

Harold held Amy during the memorial service as she tried to finish reading her heartfelt sentences before tears rushed in, replacing language.  

It was a beautifully sad, beautifully touching moment that I also will never forget. 

Harold, we all decided, was a ‘keeper’, as he shared Amy’s and his apple pie at the Gulf Stream Cafe with the group and said, ‘If you dig in, you’ll find the devil’ 🙂 Lol. 

Amy, thank you for the beautiful key chains you gave all of us (mine’s obviously influencing Boba Fett above in the photo from Brad’s breakfast table)

Words can’t express how touching that was to receive that gift from you. 

Thank you. You put it so succinctly…so perfectly. 

You got us through by getting us to Look Up to Tricia, With Tricia, and For Tricia. 

Thank you dear friend. Thank you.

Finally, it was great to be able to see and talk with Leigh’s husband, David, who I am sure has been a rock to Leigh throughout this very difficult time losing her dear friend. 

Thank you, David, for being there with all of us, and for being there for Leigh. 

You are also a very kind soul. 

It really emanates from you. 

Thank you. 

Tricia, your death has only made your light stronger and brighter, much like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s passing in Star Wars Episode IV.

Please rewatch this movie for me as you embark on your Act II. 

I know Star Wars may have played second fiddle to Fiddler on the Roof, you big Theatre Geek you 🙂 but when you get a moment, when you’re not outshining the stars up there, this scene towards the end takes on new meaning to me with your passing…

It’s obviously the scene where Darth Vader strikes down Ben Kenobi. 

I can’t help but think now of how your life force is expanding exponentially like Ben’s did, and let’s face it, the Force is real, and it’s strong with you.

If you need an HD copy of the New Hope, I’m sure Brad can loan you his 🙂 

Embarrassingly, I only still have a VHS copy 😦 

I miss you, dear friend. 

Still hard to believe you are already onto your next Act.

We will never forget you. 


We will forever look up to you. 


Word. Palabra. Forever. (Stolen from Brad’s signage of Raouf’s yearbook, 30 years later.) 🙂

Love, love, love,




2 thoughts on “Days 20-25…Reconnecting, Thankfulness, and Looking Up!

    1. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. McCauley. There are just no words to say how sorry I am for your loss, and your son, Brian’s loss. Please know that you always have us, Tricia’s friends, if you need anything, ever. Thank you for bringing such a bright light into such a dark world. We are forever grateful. Thank you. Our hearts and love go out to you and your son. My deepest condolences, Drew


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