deadlines amuse me

exploring how the world works and why it works that way …

Archive for April 18th, 2012

In memoriam Ashley Sandau

with one comment

Ashley Sandau

For nearly half a century, I have been paid to explain things to people. I am good at that.

But I cannot explain why Ashley is no longer with us. When she left us so suddenly, anger and outrage overwhelmed my grief. Men and women of faith and God sought to comfort me. They told me her passing, no matter that we do not understand it, is God’s plan.

I could not accept that. Last week was unbearable. The young should not be taken from us so, so inexplicably.

But something happened. Many students and others learned I was her adviser and professor. They asked me: “Who was Ashley?”

In my answers, I found a measure of peace. Because I found Ashley.

I told others that she embodied the German word Grundlichkeit — the quality of being thorough. I said that as a student Ashley was brilliant but reluctant to accept the spotlight. That as an athlete she endured pain beyond measure to help her team. That as a friend she made me smile. That as a good, kind, decent human being she outshone the rest of us.

At her wake, I saw hundreds of photographs of Ashley. I saw her liveliness, her eagerness to experience life, her love of her family. I shared with Liz and Shelly, her parents, our common loss.

I know Ashley better today than I did two weeks ago. And I know myself better today than I did two weeks ago.

If I become more respectful, more patient, more tolerant, more … humble … it will be in large part because Ashley showed me how.

I miss you, Ash.

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized