Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Six Months Without Lorin Maurer

It was six months ago today that Lorin Maurer, along with 48 others on her plane and one more on the ground, lost their lives when Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed while attempting to land at Buffalo.

Lorin was the Athletics Friends Manager here at Princeton. She died shortly after her 30th birthday, on her way to meet her boyfriend Kevin and attend his brother's wedding. By all accounts, it wouldn't have been much longer before Lorin and Kevin were planning their own wedding.

TigerBlog worked with Lorin for three years and knew her as the warm, energetic, vivacious person that so many others confirmed at the time of her death.

Since the accident, TigerBlog has read extensively about the investigation into the crash. It's hard not to blame the pilots and come away thinking how avoidable all this was, though TB also realizes that the pilots themselves paid a huge price as well and clearly didn't intend for any of this to happen.

The families of the victims of the flight have been very active in trying to address areas of safety for airline passengers, especially those flying on smaller regional carriers. The families have taken their cause to Congress on many occasions, and Lorin's father Scott has been a leader in this effort.

To mark the sixth months since her death, Director of Athletics Gary Walters sent an email to the department, asking to make this a "Lo-Mo Day." Jon Kurian had this to offer after talking about attending a Jimmy Buffet concert with Lorin:
"Next summer I will be back in Camden for the show and I’m sure I will think of her again, and when I do I will smile and laugh, because that’s what happens when you’re near Lorin, you just have a good time. We all missed her smiling face this year. I will always remember her, sail on Lorin, sail on… -Jon"

As for TigerBlog, his memories of Lorin will always be of her smile as well. She was always smiling. She was a person whose smile could speak for her when she was just walking by your door and didn't have anything to say. Most of the people who walk by here at TigerBlog HQ just keep going. Lorin would always stop and smile and then move on. It was TB's first thought of her when he sat down to write about her on the day she died:

"The last time TigerBlog ever saw her summed her up perfectly. Nothing to say? Flash a smile, and let that speak for you: 'Hello; hope you're doing okay; I'll see you another time.'"

There have been times in the last six months when TB has for a split-second thought he heard her voice coming down the hall or started to contact her about something and then caught himself, realizing that she's gone. The recently completed Unified Appeal piece was a project in which TB and Lorin used to work closely; the project this time served as another reminder that she's not here anymore.

TigerBlog picked up the newspaper this morning and saw that a local baseball player, 18 year old David Bachner of West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School, had passed away from apparently natural causes. A pitcher, he had been the Player of the Year in both the Trenton Times and the Trentonian. He had been headed to Seton Hall to pitch next year.

TB never met the kid and only remembered reading about him somewhat casually. As was the case when TB first heard about Lorin, his thoughts turned to the family. How in the world can they ever comprehend something like this? How do you deal?

When Lorin died, television crews descended on Jadwin Gym hoping to talk to people who knew her. TigerBlog talked about how tragic it was that someone so young, with so much ahead of her, was gone, just like that. Then he mentioned that the accident itself was 50 times more tragic, as each of the people who died had their own story to tell, their own people who would miss them.

Multiply that by every tragedy that comes along. Nine people die when a plane collides with a helicopter over the Hudson River. Soldiers are killed thousands of miles from home. The Swine Flu. On and on it goes.

Eventually, you become immune to it. They're just stories on the news. One tragedy. Then another tragedy. Another one on the way soon enough.

Only these are not nameless, faceless people. They're people like Lorin Maurer, a smart, funny, ambitious, loving, happy woman who was cheated out of so much through no fault of her own.

TigerBlog still has her cell phone number in his contacts and has random emails from her that he hasn't deleted. Six months later, her family struggles to make sense of it all, works hard to try to prevent others from going through what they've gone through.

Six months later, and everyone here in the Department of Athletics can still see her face, see her smile, hear her voice, hear her laugh. Life moves on without Lorin Maurer, but it doesn't temper how much she touched people in her short time here.

She'd want us all to remember the good times, to have as much fun as we can, to never take for granted those who are important to us.

Six months later, and TB is back to what he wrote when it first happened. Lorin is gone - and it's beyond sad.

1 comment:

abugg said...

Dear TB,
What a wonderful way to remember Lorin! Your words resonate within my heart as you so beautifully gave us perspective on how life is both precious and fleeting. As we remember Lorin, let us fully engage one another and fully enjoy the moment. I visited Lorin’s memorial website today and someone wrote that Lorin would eat a Hershey’s Kiss in four bites to make it last longer so she could savor its goodness.