Posts Tagged ‘death’
Last Tuesday one of my dearest friends, Richard LeParmentier, passed away. He is best known for his role as Admiral Motti in Star Wars: A New Hope.
About an hour after I was informed of his passing, I sent my thoughts and feelings, such as they were to be posted on the BigShinyRobot memorial post Bryan Young was posting for him.
You can see it here: http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/reviews/archives/50980
Then later that week, I commiserated with Bryan Young and Consetta Parker about our Richard memories on the podcast Full of Sith. You can listen to it here: http://fullofsith.com/archives/693
I meant to post my own blog entry about Richard and my memories of him much sooner, but I found that it was difficult for me. I couldn’t really think of what else to say. I feel like it’s been said so much better by everyone else at this point.
So I will say that when I met Richard 10 years ago (and yes, I was dressed as a Jedi), I had no idea I was making such a good friend, and that I would be blessed to have such a wonderful person as a part of my life.
He was the very first Star Wars actor I’d ever met. And he was gracious, gentlemanly, and oh so genuine.
When I first saw him at IQM2, I actually hovered away from his table for several minutes. Possibly as many as 30 trying to gather the courage to go introduce myself. Finally, as if sensing my shyness (which, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not shy normally), he called out “Hello, Gorgeous! I must say, you are the best looking Jedi I’ve ever seen.”
After that, Will and I introduced ourselves, we hung out with most of the guests that weekend (Nalini Krishan (Barriss Offee) was also there, as was Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett), and had a wonderful time.
Below are some of the pictures from that day, and I love them so much because that entire weekend is such a precious memory to me of Will, and now Richard. I would see Richard many times over the next 10 years, and we would talk often, but that first weekend, that will always be special to me.
Getting ready to head out to IQM2 with Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit.
Will & I meeting our first Stormtroopers
Richard looooooved the 501st.
Richard choking Will.
The Usual Suspects: Austin, Will, Richard, me (a picture Richard posed & wanted)
Will lightsaber dueling with Richard’s son.
Motti, me, Piett.
People asked Richard if they could choke him all weekend (thanks to Vader), and he said no to all of them… until me. I have no idea why this made me so happy (maybe because I love Vader so much & he let me pretend to be Vader)… or maybe it’s because at that point I realized that he’d decided I was a friend. And so here you go, a super silly picture of me & Richard choking each other. SEE WHAT YOU STARTED, VADER?
And I’ll close with a picture of Will from when he was that age – 13, because he loved Star Wars so much, and his meeting with Richard was one of the highlights of his too-short life.
And for those of you wondering who Will was to me, and why these memories are so important to me, here you go: http://www.ailionora.com/2012/03/26/why-i-wrote-war-of-the-seasons-happy-birthday-will-tk8432/
I meant to make my weekly post on Monday but ran out of time. The same thing happened Tuesday and then yesterday morning I received some tragic news that immediately took over what I was going to post. That said, it’s take me a bit of time to process my thoughts and feelings. Well, I imagine I’ll be processing them for a while.
I found out that my friend Laura (known as “GunslingerPadme” online in most places) took her own life in May.
What kind of friend am I that I didn’t notice I hadn’t heard from my friend in 3 months?
Well, I actually had noticed but I assumed that she had taken a social media hiatus – we all do that, and of course, I would never have thought that this would or could happen!
I knew that Laura was unhappy. I knew she was bi-polar. I knew she had many health problems, but I also knew that she was seeing a doctor regularly. I knew that she was taking her meds. I knew she was doing everything in her power to cope, that she was fighting hard to get better, and I thought she was getting better.
Or maybe I just hoped she was.
Well, Rachel Reid is someone to me.
She was my friend, a surrogate mom, and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the honor and privilege to know.
But that doesn’t make it any easier.
I first met Rachel and Ron following my 2nd deployment to Iraq in 2008 (and my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan, at the same time). I wanted to take my husband (also named Ron) to some place special for our 7th anniversary, and I knew that we would need a quiet/calm place to decompress for a bit. We’d always loved Western North Carolina, but the B&B we normally went to in Waynesville, had closed. We were referred to the Andon-Reid Inn by the old B&B owners, and were not disappointed.
The Andon-Reid Inn provided a haven, a safe place for us after Will died, and I wrote/plotted so much of War of the Seasons: the Human and The Half-blood there. In fact, my main character, Story, is from Waynesville, and small portion of The Half-blood takes place there.
Rachel and Ron nurtured us, and encouraged us to better ourselves. As personal trainers, they challenged Ron & I to run better, faster, and always provided ways for us to continue our marathon training even while on vacation. I credit them and their support for part of the reason we were able to set the personal records we both have on our race times.
Rachel loved my “fashion” sense, and it is in large part, due to her & her constant encouragement that I even have a fashion section on this blog. I will continue to make fashion posts, of course – she loved them.
We never spent Christmas anywhere outside of our own home (rule we have), but Rachel & Ron’s home was like our home. Our other home, and we’ve spent two Christmases & one Thanksgiving there. Our daughter spent her first Thanksgiving and Christmas with us (so our first family Thanksgiving & Christmas) at the Andon-Reid Inn. As we were leaving at Thanksgiving she begged to come back for Christmas, and I’m so glad we did.
I guess in all my ramblings, what I’m trying to say is, that while Rachel and Ron are very private people, and superficially it was a “business” arrangement (i.e., their home is a business, and we paid to stay there), it was so much more than that for us, and I think for them too (they surprised us last Christmas, with a brick in their drive with our names on it – stating, that we were family).
They are part of our family. They always will be. I don’t really know what to say or do right now other than to wish I could say goodbye to Rachel one last time. Actually, I wish she wasn’t gone.
I’m LDS (Mormon), so I believe that I’ll get to see Rachel (and everyone else I’ve lost) again, when I die, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing they weren’t gone, and that I could see them again, now.
I last saw Rachel in April, when my friends Caitlin & Conley came out and we had a “Girls Weekend” at the Inn. Rachel absolutely spoiled us rotten. We decided to have a historical tea party, and Rachel, ever the perfectionist, researched the proper sandwiches and cookies that were appropriate for the Regency era.
She always found ways to make every single one of her guests feel like they were at home, and were special. I can’t even enumerate them all. There’s a reason it was rated the #1 Bed and Breakfast in the entire country just a few short months ago.
And it wasn’t just Rachel, it’s also Ron. You can’t help but love and trust Ron.
I can’t even imagine what Ron must be going through right now. I know he’s focusing on is work, on the Inn, and the last thing he needs is a bunch of emails and phone calls from everyone right now, so I will post this not only to remember Rachel, but to tell Ron how much we love them both. It’ll be here waiting for whenever he’s ready to read it.
I encourage you, if you’ve never visited Waynesville, NC to do so. And of course, if you do, you must stay at the Andon-Reid Bed and Breakfast. I know we can’t wait to go back.
Love you Ron. Miss you Rachel.
Thank you for giving us a home away from home.
From Caitlin: I was terribly saddened to hear the news of Rachel’s passing. I met Rachel earlier this year, when my friends and I had a girls’ weekend at the Andon-Reid. We wanted to have a historical tea party, and Rachel went out of her way to make it a special experience for us, even researching the types of food that would have been served in that time period. When she found out I didn’t like tea or coffee, she immediately pulled out a secret stash of homemade hot chocolate mix from the freezer and whipped up a huge mug for me. Even though we’d only just met, she made it feel like we’d known each other for years, like I was part of a great big extended family for those two brief days of our stay. Rachel was one of the good ones, and she will be sorely missed.
From Jess: I found out today that a kind soul passed last month. I feel silly feeling this deeply about this, I honestly couldn’t have said I knew her, but she had a deep impact on me. Remember that nice little B&B I visited to visit Ron and Janine? The one I was always welcome in. Even if just for a visit. From the very first time I popped over, I was not only welcome to visit my friends, but I was made to feel at home. That homey feel was largely due to the innkeepers. It may sound odd, but even just stepping in the inn for a second, Ron and Rachel felt like ‘mom’ & ‘dad’.
Even though I didn’t stay I was welcomed to try whatever goody Rachel cooked… I don’t know. Even though I didn’t know her as a friend, like I said, she always just felt like ‘mom’. She was a kind soul that touched my life, even for that small amount of time I saw her. The world lost a truly beautiful person.
Rest in peace, Rachel.
A few pictures from some of my favorite times spent at Andon-Reid over the past few years. You’ll notice Rachel & Ron are not really in any of them – they were always taking them, and the few times I managed to get one with them in it, they (especially Rachel) were always a blur (that should tell you something about them).
Thank you, Ron and Rachel, for embracing my weirdness and for always taking care of me and my family.
Love you guys.
Rest in peace, Rachel. I love you.