Some Bad News about a Good Friend

Dear Scout,

I was a little worried about you yesterday. When I got to work that morning, the head of my department come to my desk and asked me to come to the conference room. When I got to the conference room, my boss was sitting there. Her eyes were red from crying.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “They’re having massive layoffs. I’m going to be fired. Poor Scout will grow up in a poorhouse.”

But that wasn’t it. The news they gave me was infinitely worse. My friend Mary, whom I’d just seen the night before, was dead, killed in a car accident on her way home after dropping me off.

What a shock. I have cried more in the last two days than I have in a long time. I worry about you; I don’t want my stress to have a negative effect on you. But at the same time, I cannot help but grieve. Mary was a beautiful person. She was a good friend. I think we were well on our way to becoming very good friends. After tax season …

After tax season, we planned to do some hiking and backpacking trips. I was trying to talk her into hiking the Art Loeb with me and a few other friends over Memorial Day weekend. I was saying I wished she and her fiancé could join your dad and me on the Pinhoti Trail this April. We talked about books—we both loved to read. She was planning to be married in June. We talked about her wedding.

We talked about a lot of things that night as we drove to South Carolina, and then back to Franklin. We had gone to South Carolina to visit a friend whose brother had just died of cancer. I’m sorry to talk of these things, Scout—you know nothing of death, and I pray that you’ll be kept from that knowledge for a good, long time.

It was so late. We had eaten dinner with our friend Carla and her family before driving home, then we’d gone 10 miles off the course and had to turn back, losing a good half-hour. It was nearly midnight when she dropped me off.

About a half-hour later, she would be killed by a drunk driver. She was hit head-on and, they say, died instantly. I hope she felt no pain.

I worried about you when I learned of this tragedy. Stress is not good for a baby Scout. You’ve only been in existence for about three weeks; I didn’t want to give you more than you could handle already. I hope everything is okay in there, that you’re just growing and strengthening and becoming you.

I’m glad you’re here. Mary asked me if your dad and I were going to have kids, and I told her “no, we haven't been planning for kids.” I couldn’t tell her about you just yet. The next morning, before I learned of the wreck, I told your father how Mary and I would laugh someday, after I’d made the announcement about you, at how I’d had to evade her question that evening in the car.

Mary’s life was not in vain. She was a beautiful, giving person. I would be honored if you would someday have her same giving spirit, her easy smile, her obvious love for life.

It was a sad day in my life, Scout. It was a sad day for a lot of us. But a couple of good things happened that day, too, and I’d like to tell you about them.

Your Aunt Megan and Cousin Ella came up from Brevard to spend time with me. I had my first appointment with the baby doctor. Aunt Megan and Cousin Ella took me, and they waited and played in the waiting room while I went in for my appointment.

“Congratulations!” said the midwife when she came in to the examining room. She was talking about you, Scout. She was congratulating me for the happy news that I would be bringing you into the world.

She said you’ll be born in late November or early December. We won’t know for certain until late April, when your dad an I go in to get a sonogram. I’ll be able to see you then! Right now, you’re about the size of a sesame seed. By then, you’ll be closer to a lima bean. From a sesame seed to a lima bean in just a few weeks—you are growing fast!

I’ll end this letter for now. I’m sure I’ll write you many more in the upcoming months. Again, I hope the stress of the last couple of days has not hurt you. I’m doing my best to protect you, as long as I can, from the harshness of the world.



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