Women I Admire: LuAnn Staheli

Spider web

I read Charlotte's Web to my son not long ago.
I cried.
I've cried before, but honestly this time was different.
I didn't quite want to believe time was winding up for you,
but I couldn't stop seeing you in Charlotte.

Some writers have that one book
that turned them into dreamers.
Some have songs, or images
or experiences,
or classes.

I have you.

You are written inside me.
So familiar is the sound of you reading aloud,
that you are the voice I know anywhere,
You are in the traces of the stuff I still haven't written.
that soul deep
peach farm,
family loving
story that you always wanted me to write.

I kinda figured you be around to see it.

I count the times I've been with you.
The hours spent in your class.
I still see you in a red silk shirt
waiting for me in the hallway
the day after my uncle died.

Years later,
you still knew my name.
You mentored me.
You invited me to lunch with you.
Let me hang out with the real authors
when all I saw was unattainable stars.

Only now, when it's too late
I realize I barely knew you at all.

I was busy growing up.
Wrapped up in myself.
Grappling with all the awkward insecure parts of me.
And you let me.
You said the right things.
You smiled at the right times.
You did the things I needed.

If I could do anything different.
I wouldn't be so afraid.
I wouldn't take so long to start writing again.
I'd come and visit you more often.
And I'd talk less about myself.
I'd ask you more about your life.

It might not be much.
A small speck in the multitude of lives you touched,
but I want to you know
you made a difference to me.

And that book you believed I could write
is in pieces on my computer.
I don't know if I ever told you I started it.
That story was what got me writing again.
It's haunted me a long time and someday I'll finish.

"Do it soon." I think you'd tell me.

I'll miss you. I'll think of you.
I hope you are having a joyful reunion
with all those waiting for you there.
Free from pain. Strong. Happy.
I hope you know I love you.

I hope you know.

And so I'm here with these little moments running through my mind.
Your life intersecting with mine.
You have children, husband, family,
and so little time here to share.
But God gave a few precious minutes of you to me.

I cannot end it better than E.B. White.
"Its not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and good writer. Charlotte was both."

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