Friday, February 13, 2015

Lorin Maurer, Six Years Later

Time marches on, and details start to blur a bit.

In this case, it was the date. TigerBlog thought it was Feb. 13, not Feb. 12. Off the top of his head, anyway.

It's been six years now, six years since he woke up to the ridiculous news that still seems too unlikely to actually have happened. Lorin Maurer, 30-year-old Lorin Maurer, beautiful, full of life Lorin Maurer, had been killed in a plane crash.

Lorin was the first person here at Princeton whose job was the Friends' Group coordinator. She was a perfect match for it. She had the right temperament, the right personality, the work ethic, the ability to be a team player.

She was Lo-Mo, as Jamie Zaninovich, then her boss here, called her. She had it all at age 30 - a job she liked and was good at, a great family, she was in love. What could go wrong, right?

TigerBlog was in a meeting with Lo-Mo one afternoon. She left the meeting to go to the airport, headed for Buffalo for her boyfriend's brother's wedding.

The next morning, TigerBlog woke up to an email that said Lorin had died when the plane crashed trying to land. Even now, six years later, TigerBlog remembers the instant and the feeling he had, of utter, sheer disbelief. It didn't seem real. It still doesn't.

He remembers the feeling that no, this can't be right. He remembers the way everyone else here that day shared the same feeling. 

Gone, just like that.

Gone, but not forgotten. Never to be forgotten here, at least as long as TigerBlog is here.

Each year since her death, TigerBlog has written about a woman who left here so abruptly, so tragically, on the anniversary of her death.

This year, he's off by one day.

It's to be expected. In some ways, six years doesn't seem like all that long ago. On the other hand, TigerBlog would guess that well more than half of the people who work in the athletic department now did not work here at the time of Lorin's death.

Over time, as TB said, details fade. And so he was off by one day.

But there are some things about Lorin Maurer that are still etched in concrete in TigerBlog's memory.

Like her voice. And her laugh.

And the way she'd walk past TigerBlog's office, whose door is always open, and stop, look in, smile, and keep going. She always would stop and smile. Then keep going.

Mostly, that's what TB remembers about her, that smile. She was always smiling, whether in TigerBlog's doorway or anywhere else he ever saw her.

He sees pictures of her every now and then, and there it is, that smile. But he doesn't need those pictures to remember it. Not in the least.

TigerBlog has spoken with Lorin's parents several times in the last six years. Each time he wants to say the right thing, the perfect thing to them, to let them know that their daughter's memory still lasts and that the people here who knew her haven't let that memory fade at all. And yet there is no perfect way to tell them anything, because mostly all he can think of is how cheated they've been, and how nothing he can say, write or do can change any of that.

Even now, sitting at the same desk in the same office with the same door open, it still doesn't seem all that real. TigerBlog can't write any of this without thinking back to the last moment he saw her, when she walked past his office that night six years ago.

It is so vivid. Lorin, in a hurry to get to the airport. You've been in that situation. A meeting ran a little longer than you thought, and now you're playing catchup.

Lorin was in a rush, but she did what she always did. Stopped. Smiled. Kept going. 

And so what if this should have been written yesterday? It's the important details about Lorin that TB remembers.  

TigerBlog and Lorin were friendly but not great friends, by any stretch. At the very least, there were way more people here who were closer to Lorin than TigerBlog was.

TB knew her simply as a nice person, someone who was easy to work with, someone funny who laughed easily. Someone who made Princeton Athletics a better place.

Someone who left way too soon, in a horrifically tragic way.

Someone that TigerBlog will never forget.


Nassau83 said...

I wish there was a like button for posts like these. It's just a great entry that does not need further amplification. She was special and deserves to be remembered.

Anonymous said...

Always grateful to TB for remembering Lorin's smile and for remembering her. Sincerely Aprreciative! Scott and Terry Maurer