I've always liked Caitlin. I've always hoped that she liked me as well. I perceived that she did, but she was such a thoughtful, gracious lady that if she didn't, I might not have known. Having known her for twenty years - we met right around my twenty-first birthday, I have hundreds of memories of her at events, restaurants, post revels, etc. Two stand out in my mind:
Twenty years ago Bob and I went to an event in Carolingia, and requested crash space. This was back when crash space was something advertised in the event announcement. We were matched up with Justin and Caitlin, two people we had never met. By the end of the event we had been introduced, and followed them back to their home to spend the night. We had a delightful conversation, the content of which is long forgotten - I just remember thinking what neat people they were. When we first came in, my eye was caught by a piece of framed embroidery on the wall. It was celtic knotwork metamorphosing into a printed circuit board, and I loved how clever it was. Caitlin was delighted that I recognized what it was. I think of that moment often, for some reason - my delight in the piece, and her delight in mine.
Some number of years after that, we were at Black Rose Ball in Rhode Island. We were either headed out for dinner for back from dinner - I forget. Caitlin was writing something down, I don't recall what. I forget how we got there, but the topic of our (Bob's and my) relationship came up. The fact that we weren't married, but he was. Caitlin tilted her head and blinked at me a few times. Then she smiled and said "don't mind me - I'm just rearranging some incorrect assumptions."
At the service this afternoon, I saw people that I see all the time, occasionally, and people I haven't seen for years. People I love, people I like, people I dislike. Today we were all the same with the same grief on our faces. Perhaps together we can all move on, and in the spring, celebrate her life as sincerely as today we grieved her death. She was a sweet, funny, absolutely gracious lady. I regret that my daughter won't have the chance to know her - both as a person and as an example.
Goodbye Jane. Thank you for letting me into your life. I will miss you.