Terry

On Saturday morning, March 4th, I went to the gym. After forty-five minutes on the elliptical machine, I sat down to stretch, and thought for a moment that it felt good to take time out to tend to my health. As I did sit-ups, I listened to music by The Band, whom I’ve loved since my father first introduced them to me as a teenager. Time. Movement. Music. Reflection. Nostalgia. These things were swiftly taken away from Terry DiFalco just hours later.

I started writing this on Sunday, March 5th, when it was confirmed that Terry did not survive a horrific car accident the night before. I didn’t feel like I could breathe, my chest alternately squeezed tight and hollowed out.

I’m not a frequent Facebook visitor, but I wanted to see a recent picture of Terry, who was in my younger son’s Kindergarten, first and second grade classes at Jefferson School. I found her, and was blown away at the sight of this stunning young woman. How grown up and self-assured she looked, trading the long hair I knew for a sophisticated shorter cut.

Sign Up for E-News

I didn’t know Terry well, and in the short time since she’s left us, I realize how I’ve missed out. Whatever threadbare connections I had to her came immediately rushing forth. As I said, she and my son had the wonderful Miss Bussey at Jefferson for two years of elementary school. He just told me that he had a crush on Terry in second grade, and that he wasn’t the only one. I also remember another outstanding Jefferson teacher, Mrs. Vierschilling, telling me years ago, à propos of I don’t know what, that she had a student named Terry DiFalco who was the best writer she’d ever seen. Not just good for a child, other-worldly good. Something else that came to mind was her mother’s kindness. In response to my online columns, on several occasions, Maureen took the time to send me thoughtful reactions full of insight and encouragement. I suspect that the apple of Terry fell very close to its tree. These are surely tangential entanglements. However, our families break bread every day just blocks from each other.

I’ve heard people talk about how impossible loss is to process, absorb, digest, and comprehend. It makes me think of a wicked stomach virus where you’re doubled over. You think you’ll find relief when you empty yourself, but then another nausea wave comes, and then, another. It’s just days since Terry died. In that time, I’ve thought about the parts of her that were left active - her backpack full of binders, her bedroom full of clothes, her cell phone full of texts. Then, the second wave…I think of her teachers’ minds full of impressions, the high school production of Carrie she was about to star in, upcoming doctor’s appointments in her parents’ calendars, spring break plans. For a matter of hours, she hasn’t been with us, but for a decade and a half, she has. Judging by the estimated 1,000+ people who came to pay their respects at her wake, her influence has been extraordinary.

The pain of Terry’s sudden death is real to people like me who merely shared space in her village, but it’s not anything like what her family is enduring. Unable to give the DiFalcos what they yearn for most, I wish I could shoulder some of their devastation because I don’t think anyone was created to handle suffering like this.

G and I often talk about our differences, but Terry’s passing has brought to the forefront our sameness. She and I ache deeply, as we all do. Terry reminds us that we are fragile, our lives fleeting. We are less than we were for her absence, and we are also more. The outpouring of love and the communal heartache in our town have been staggering.

I wrote this partially for selfish reasons, in an attempt to process, absorb, digest, and comprehend this terrible loss. It’s how I feel my way through. I never had the opportunity to read Terry’s writing, but I imagine that if this beautiful girl, as her father so lovingly describes her, were trying to make sense out of something so senseless, she might have done the same.

Liz Kingsley lives in Westfield with her girlfriend and their five children. During the day, she teaches Special Education and Basic Skills at a local elementary school, writes poetry and columns about her family, and directs The Writers Studio. At night, she collapses from exhaustion.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Kessler Foundation Seeks Volunteers with Spinal Cord Injury for New Study!

June 18, 2018

Kessler Foundation is a research center in West Orange, NJ that specializes in disability research. We are currently seeking individuals with spinal cord injury to participate in a new research study:

Dr. John O'Neill, principal investigator in Spinal Cord Injury research seeks volunteers for a spinal cord injury study. The purpose of this study is to identify ways of enhancing the ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Dine at Chipotle in New Providence, June 18, in Support of Covenant House

Support Covenant House by making dinner a selfless act and support a fundraiser that supports Covenant House. Come in to Chipotle at 1260 Springfield Ave. in New Providence on Monday June 18 between 4 and 8 p.m. Click here to print flyer, or show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you're supporting the cause for 50 percent of proceeds to be donated to Covenant House.

About: ...

Watchung Borough Mayor and Council Approve Affordable Housing Settlement

June 9, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -The Watchung Borough Council voted on Thursday night  to settle its third round affordable housing obligation mandated by the state of New Jersey. Watchung Borough’s immunity from builder's remedy lawsuits  expires on June 30.

 Mayor Stephen Pote was forced to cast the deciding vote after the council deadlocked at 3-3.

Union County Freeholders Support LGBTQ Community with Historical Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

June 4, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The rainbow flag, a symbol of pride and independence fly’s high at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. 

This historic event by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Office of LGBTQ Services, Department of Human Services and many others, brought dignitaries and people from all over New Jersey to the steps of the ...

Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith Attends Gun Safety Bills Signing Ceremony with Gov. Murphy in Trenton

June 14, 2018

TRENTON, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith attended a gun safety package bill signing ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton on Wednesday with Governor Phil Murphy. Mayor Smith joined a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials, as well as members of Moms Demand Action of Union County, at the event. 

“As a leader in Sandy Hook Promise, I was happy to accept the ...

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7f6c107703df2d416aa6_barre_intesity

Mon, June 18, 8:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Barre Intensity

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_e7f53aa67b8e7cb310c5_vinyasaclass

Mon, June 18, 9:15 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Aroma Flow Vinyasa

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_a4801a3d56342db1596a_pilates_reformer

Mon, June 18, 10:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, Providence

Pilates Reformer

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_3c7abbb40c05a3108a26_yoga_stretch

Mon, June 18, 11:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Hatha Flow Yoga

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_3c7abbb40c05a3108a26_yoga_stretch

Mon, June 18, 11:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Hath Yoga Flow

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_c562cbbb99ee8ce36130_covenant_house_flyer

Mon, June 18, 4:00 PM

Chipotle, New Providence

Dine at Chipotle in New Providence June 18 in ...

Food & Drink Giving Back