Wednesday, May 6, 2009


May 6, 2009

I can't believe I missed a Cinco de Mayo post opportunity yesterday. For years, Erin, Nico, and I spent Cinco de Mayo (a rather regionalized holiday) at the Ronald McDonald House, eating some sort of volunteer-provided Mexican casserole, followed by a super-secret, no-moms-allowed craft project which always turned up the following Sunday or so as a special Mother's Day gift. This year, I didn't even think of the brave Mexican soldiers who defeated the much better armed French at whatever battle that was.

For those of you keeping track, Davis made it to DC last Sunday, found his lodgings, and immediately noticed how many bike lanes the city had. Poor Ruby, stuck in his closet here at home, until Davis's parents wend their way up to the northeast to reunite them and move them both up to Rochester for the rest of the summer. Drop me a note, if you know of a trustworthy pawn shop in the DC area that Davis might buy a decent road bike for the intervening time, OR if you live in the area and might lend him one with a tall frame for the month of May.

Walter and I are finding different ways to reflect on Erin and continue to love her. We have walked Willie, Teddy, Luke, and Uma to within an inch of their lives (a quick trip for the ancient Luke, but a pretty long journey for the vital and intrepid Willie) because walking the dogs is a pretty good setting for sharing time and thoughts with each other. I have also spent time in Erin's room (we should all have such spacious and well-appointed digs at some point in our lives). I listen to audio books (P.D. Wodehouse's Jeeves books currently) while I take care of correspondence and generally lay eyes on all the many aspects of Erin's personality represented in the treasures she kept. One thing I came across the other days reminded me of how opinionated she was about certain things. She had a notebook that she used in the last week or so of her life to write down thoughts she had (so that I would always know the exact plan, even if I wasn't in the room when she made the plan) about what was going to happen next. So the three pages of notes that she written about the trip to St. Joseph's for a red blood and platelet transfusion went something like:

(Page 1) Getting There (in bold across the top):

Column 1:

Pack items on list in next column in green shoulder bag (unless you need the black bag for more room. you can also use both)
Put motor cart in car
Carry my stuff to car
Carry your stuff to car
Carry me to car
Go through circle
Drop me and the stuff off
Meet me in the room
Set up the room (see two maps on next two pages)
Get started

Column 2:

To Pack:
4 movies, including Last of the Mimzies
whatever you need

The next two pages had detailed maps of how to arrange the beds, tables, chests, and chairs: option one if we got a single room and option two if we got a double room. It included instructions like: "Rotate bedside tray table parallel to bed with space for my chair in between the table and the bed. Pull out food tray extension. Make sure the lower side faces me. That is easier!"

I really don't think of her as imperious, but she did always have a plan.

Much like the Trappist monks, sworn to a vow of silence, in the following video had a plan to sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus (note to self: oops that didn't turn into as smooth a transition as I had hoped). By the way, this composition, indeed the entire Messiah, debuted on April 13, 1742. Two hundred and sixty-seven years, to the day, of Erin's memorial service. She would have thought this video was worth six minutes of your time. Thanks Marsha!


  1. ! whoah vickie, that one brought tears from i don't know where... okay - i do know where (dad struggling after his first chemo treatments, his first time with chemo in 4 years of living with cancer and me having to go home to take care of him.. yes, an honor, but yes, living so far away from him i can pretend it's not as bad as it is). i wish i knew someone in DC with a bike for Davis.. if he were just a few hours southeast we could probably hook him up (Va Tech).

    anyhow - still thinking of you daily. i have erin's picture in my new wallet with pictures of other kids dear to my heart. i tell her story every couple of days to people i get to show off my pictures too. i'm headed home to eugene and i've been sure to pack my lanyard. i hope you don't object to me continuing to tell the story of this amazing young activist who really was everything an activist should be - smart, opinionated (was erin ever bullheaded?), passionate, and the most important - kind and ever inclusive. my friends in eugene - all activists themselves - will eat the story of erin up. :)

  2. vickie, i am learning more about erin each day. her planfulness is an epiphany. i wish she were here.

  3. Thanks for continuing to share your sweet girl with us! I love your Erin stories and hope you never stop telling them! She is an inspiration!

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  5. that movie was pretty great - and those lists just broke my heart. it must be a comfort though, to be able to be in erin's bedroom and be surrounded by her material things, while your heart is forever wrapped in the things she left you that you cannot see, smell, or touch.

    if i was home in delaware, i may be able to help with the bike hookup, but i'm still in north carolina finishing up with final exams and papers. i'll be thinking about him though - i hope he enjoys his time in DC!

    thinking of you guys constantly-

  6. I do so miss Erin. I would like to come see little Miss Rosie. What outfit is she wearing? I found Kindergarten negatives the other day that I want to get developed. Erin's Kindergarten, of course. That was before I had a digital camera. I am hoping there are some cooking ones in there that might be good for her cookbook. Yes, the little cook started early! Looking forward to spending some time with you after school is out whenever you can fit me in! Nicholas keeps Erin's picture on his desk, by the way. He likes looking at it and remembering her. I asked what he remembers the most and it's the times we would see each other at Gina's and she would come running full speed, Erin-style, over to our table giggling and saying, "Gina's!" He remembers her red hair, happy face and that she ALWAYS looked so cute. I remember when she was 4 and our first words to each other each time we met (which could be quite a few times EACH DAY in the hall) were a very loud "Gina's!" I don't think most people got our little private joke.We didn't care. We got it.....

  7. Vickie, Yes, Wow, what a post! How poignant! especially Erin's detailed list of what to take, how to arrange the room etc. when she was so sick! the "Get Started", really got to me! Yes, its wonderful to walk the dogs to walk and talk about Erin! How wonderful that you and Walter have each other and the dogs! Alas,my friend just moved from D.C.( Arlington) to New York City; but I do have a friend's daughter, Amy, who lives in Annapolis; but who works in D.C. Maybe she can come with a bike for Davis! She always follows Sam's Team and his fellow bloggers! I'll try! So glad you are still Writing! You inspire me to write! That will be my verb! (aside from: To Clean the clutter)
    Fondly, Sara Maley "Sam's Gram"

  8. I think it's wonderful that you and Walter (and the dogs) share favorite things about Erin on your walks. And I love that you keep sharing things about her with us. She had so much depth and was so multi-faceted that I know you have much to share! I love her lists. She was quite the organizer :)

    Keep sharing and keep writing...

    Big hugs,

    Kimberly Reeves

  9. Sounds to me like she was trying to make sure things were a little easier on you by making a plan for you. How very thoughtful and amazing of her.

  10. I love that you continue to find treasures of your girl. It is a good think you expanded her room - you doubled your area, huh.

    I miss her too.


  11. I feel as though we know all of you through Whitney and her love and devotion to your sweet Erin. What an inspiring story you are telling; thank you for sharing Erin with us. Our prayers are with you. ~ Bonnie Wilkinson

  12. This video is GREAT! I can just imagine sweet Erin hooting thru it. Thanks for sharing. You are in my prayers. God bless.
    jenny in Idaho

  13. Well, Mrs. Dr. B., you continue to amaze. I am in total agreement with your niece Loren who says Erin is her hero, as she is mine also. However, my hero list also includes you, Walter and Davis. What an inspiring family you are! You have all taught the rest of us how to live with amazing grace in the face of the unimaginable. I think of Erin all the time and always with a smile in my heart for the delightful angel that she is, and her school picture has been added to my billfold alongside Rusty and all the nieces and nephews. I am so grateful that you have continued to share with us. I am sure that it helps you. I just hope you have some idea of how much it means to the rest of us. As always, love and HUGS to all the Buengers!

  14. You are so awesome! I pray that your writing blesses and comforts you, as it does the rest of us.
    The video is wonderful and I agree that Erin would think it worthy of our time – she would want us to laugh, even when we don’t feel like it. Your sharing insight into her planning detail makes me think of her as a kindred spirit - as I constantly receive grief for my planning. Everyday I am consciously doing at least one thing more than I think I can – in honor of her inspiration.