A Lifetime of Bearing Fruit


I found out late last night that one of my roommates from college passed away. In looking through all my old photo albums, I was aware, once again, of those positive influences in my life who helped me overcome my inadequacies, and stood as an example of goodness, truth and such kindness. She stands front and center. I know its common to talk about people who die in celebratory language and images. But Louise was the real deal. She would get teased sometimes by her Pollyanna approach to the world, but she was just, simply, so good. She helped me stay optimistic when my more brooding tendencies would begin to take over. A fellow sojourner on a quest for spiritual enlightenment, she visited a community in Canada to calm her spirit and find some answers, like I did in the desert in New Mexico. She found her soul mate in her husband Tom, a relationship I often used as an archetype of how a man and woman behave in a healthy relationship. I wasn’t always good at social cues, and Louise somehow helped me navigate through the complications of relationships. Even after all this time she continued to be that person who glowed, and that was intrinsically so much better than many of us not just because she was kind, funny and smart, but she moved in the world living a life that reflected her spiritual values and made it seem uncomplicated and effortless…and she never made me feel inferior, never once, even though I believe it to be true, in every sense of the word. Lou was matter of fact about what was necessary to be a modern Catholic Christian. She had her causes and worked tirelessly to bear her own brand of “good fruit.”

She was that friend you could always pick up right where you left off. I was able to talk to her on the phone a few times after she got sick because she lived in another state. The first time, I didn’t even know she was sick, we didn’t talk about that, we just picked up and updated like we usually did. My world was brighter every time we connected, and it is my hope that I made her world brighter too. She was my only friend that continued to write letters long hand as well, waxing philosophically much of the time, continuing to search and grow. They are in my box of letters along with others like my father’s that made me think and grow. She again, was much better at it than I was. I would start but never finish, and end up sending missives separated by long periods of time that had many different sections that were started and then stopped. I regret letting my own ill health often get in the way of reconnecting, but I do feel confident that she knew how much I loved her, even if we didn’t see each other very much.

I have often used Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” in the story of the wood fox, to depict how to make friends or tame people…


Louise tamed me. She transformed how I learned to see the world. I’m sure through her husband and beautiful children, her friends and family, no one will see the wheat fields in the same way agian. And it is nice to know that there is one more angel in heaven watching over and bringing us light and hope.

5 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Bearing Fruit

  1. What a beautiful and spot-on tribute to Louise. We all know the same Louise, no matter when or how we came to know her. This consistency over time is often something I wonder about myself. Would someone who knew the 20-year-old me agree with the perceptions of those who know me now? And would most perceptions be positive? From your writings, and those of others who have known her for a long time, I have learned that we all know the same Louise. She was true to herself over time, and was a uniquely wonderful person ❤

  2. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. Louise became my friend after working alongside each other in school PTO, reading books in book group, and having mutual friends. The person you describe is definitely the friend I came to know and love. She was such an earnest and caring woman. I miss her, but a piece of her will always live in me.

  3. Thank you Mary! This pretty much sums up everything I’ve been thinking the past few days.
    Older brother Brian

  4. I’m a high school classmate of Louise’s (and a professional writer) and I have to tell you, that’s beautiful. I hadn’t seen her since high school, but I remember her as tremendously sweet; just a really, really good person. It seems like you really captured her here.

  5. …and, in my FB Group post, I asked people to send a hand written note to Tom…wow…the spirit is strong in that one…thanks for your letter above Mary. Peace.

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