Pearls and Dreams
I have needed to write you this letter for a long time, technically, it probably would have been better to wait till tomorrow, but it's still to painful. Today is the day.
I remember the day I moved her to Tulsa. I was 17, and we'd just gotten into town. My sister worked at the church we'd be attending, and we just went straight to the church since it was Wednesday. December 30, 1981. You were there early for service to help the youth pastor and his secretary (my sister). You were 18. My sister introduced us and you hung around with me all afternoon.
That evening, we sat together, after church, you introduced me to Eric W. and asked him if I could join 'Proclamation'. I had no clue what you were talking about. Eric asked me if I liked to sing and I said yes. So, he said, "We're a choir, join us Monday nights at 7 pm"
New Years Eve, I went with you to the youth group New Years Eve party. Friday, you called me and we talked forever on the phone. Sunday we went to Ken's Pizza together after church. Monday night, we went to Proclamation practice together. My life changed forever.
You, Trudy, accepted me, right from the start. No questioning who I was or what I was. Just open, honest and friendly. You were a year older than me, already out of high school, and I was just a Junior. It didn't matter to you ... social class ... age ...didn't matter. We'd become friends and fast friends.
We sang together, we hung out together, we laughed together, cried together, prayed together and just sat together. The day I was afraid that my mom might have killed herself, you went with me to check the house, you went in first, so that if she had, I would not have found both my mom and my dad. Why neither of us thought to call the police? I have no idea. Thank God she was just asleep! (Did I ever tell you that she'd sprained her ankle and had taken some pain killers? that's why she didn't hear the phone ringing! Although, this last February, she did tell me, that she HAD been suicidal at the time).
You dropped out of Proclamation, but our friendship didn't drop. You became pregnant with John Michael. I remember so many of our friends that just seemed to reject you. How awful that must have been for you. I still, to this day, don't understand that.
I remember being very honored that you allowed me to share your pregnancy with you ... I learned about morning sickness and what it was like for a 19 year old who was brave enough to stand up for what she saw was right. Do you ever think about those 2 months I lived with you during the week? Me so I 'd be closer to my school, and for you to not be alone while you were going through such a miserable stage of pregnancy?
You were one of the few people who had the nerve to corner me on the eating disorder. I don't know what you'd have done if the resources available today were there back then. I'll never forget the fury in your eyes when you caught me purging in your bathroom. The fury that turned to fear as you raged at me, then begged and pleaded with me to stop ... to stop and heal and to see myself better. To look at myself. Do you remember taking my face and making me look in the mirror? I don't know that I've ever had someone so lovingly mad at me ... I still hurt when I think of that moment. How much that must have hurt you.
I'll never forget seeing John Michael when he was little. Those eyes would just enchant me. Can you remember our talks outside of the singles group? With everyone inside chatting away, you and I standing outside, still on the edge of things, John Michael going back and forth between us.
High School was behind me, Proclamation behind both of us. I had no idea what to do.
You didn't like Don when you met him either. I didn't learn very well did I? I'm sorry we lost contact. I think the last time we talked was when I called to tell you Samuel was born.
I was supposed to call you again, but Samuel got so sick, then I was sick ...and my life spun out of control.
Then April 19,1995, 9:02 A.M. Timothy McVeigh took the option of us ever re uniting as friends away.
The friday after the bombing, CBS announced the first few names of the victims who'd been identified. I had a baby gate up between my kitchen & living room. As they were announcing the names, I was stepping over the gate, and I heard "Trudy Rigney" Immediately, I fell and started screaming. Evidently, I went into hysterics, my husband could not calm me down to find out why I was screaming. It took calling my mom, and mom, and him 5 full minutes to get "Trudy Rigney died" out of my mouth.
It took 3 years for my son, who was then 3, to stop saying
"Oka-homa City Bombing mamma, you can cry now" everytime the news would show the picture of the blown out Murrah Building.
Oh Trudy ... I have so often wondered ... did you know? Oh how I hope you don't know it happened. How I've prayed that you were just working one minute and in the arms of God the next. The idea, that you'd had to hurt and suffer for a while just breaks my heart.
It's been 10 years since you were so violently yanked from my life forever ... but my memories of you will forever be in my heart. You were my first friend in Oklahoma. You were a true friend who loved me enough to take a firm stand.
I went to the Memorial a few years ago, I stood there and looked at the clear chair that represents who you are and all I could think of was "I'd rather have her here"
I Love you Trudy Rigney. I always will.
I miss you.