Ann Paeth

It’s been two years now, since my friend Ann died. I feel a little guilty that the day has slipped by, and I haven’t spent as much time thinking about her, remembering her. I guess this is what happens with time – the grieving lessens, but the tradeoff is that the memories sometimes do as well.

I feel like I should be saying something profound here, but I’m at a loss. It’s been two years. I haven’t cried today. The moments when I do think back and reflect on her life, on her passing – I’ve gotten sad. But no crying.

For a long while after her funeral, there was a phase where I would talk with her. Not in any kind of real way – it’s not like she was answering me or anything. But when I was home, I’d be going about my chores and I’d say stuff. Out loud. To her. I felt like I could hear her, that I could imagine what she might say.

I guess, during those first weeks, I kept trying to imagine her still around – so much so that I wound up talking out loud to her. It felt pretty good, and I think it did end up helping, doing that. I could hear her voice, her opinions of things, her teasing me, her laughter.

I dug around tonight, looking for something I might be able to post on here. Something I could share with you all, who didn’t know her. Since I’m a pack rat, I tracked down a folder full of floppy disks and papers from our time in grad school together.

Ann and I both attended the creative writing MFA program at Ohio State University. There, each graduating class has a final “reading,” where their professors introduce them, and each student shares some work of theirs (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) to families and friends in attendance. It’s akin to a graduation ceremony, but focused more on the writing. Ann and I were both poets in the program.

And since I helped create the event handouts (we printed hard copies of all the work being read), I still have this folder with everyone’s diskette and originals. Including Ann’s.

I also ended up recording the entire graduation ceremony (also known as “Epilog”), and have recordings of all my classmates. Below, I’m including two audio bits: the first is Kathy Fagan’s introduction; the second is Ann reading one of her poems.

Thinking about talking with Ann and her voice… I thought I’d share some audio. With these snippets into her life, I wanted to let you see what those of us who knew her saw: her humor, her quirkiness, her sense of wonder. Her vibrancy.

Kathy Fagan: Introduction

Ann Paeth: Epilog Reading

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hi -I just wanted to contact you in some way. I was a good friend of Ann’s at Hope College and I was thinking of her and googled her name (which may seem a little odd, I know). She had such a profound affect on my life and I was looking for assurance that she could still affect others even in death.

    Anyhoo, with google I found your entry on Ann and your audio clip of her reading. I just want to thank you for that. It’s a little piece of her that I can hold onto aside from my memories. So thank you again.

    Jodi James Reply

  2. Hi-I was good friends with Ann- we met at Ohio State. I miss her so much.

    I wanted to thank you for posting this – it was so good to hear her voice again – I didn’t realize how much I have missed her, all this time, until I burst into tears at the sound of her voice. Thank you so much.

    sandra williams Reply

  3. I was at the graduating ceremony. I was a wanna-be M.F.A.-er and student of Ann’s. I connected with her, and wish I could have connected with her more before she passed.

    Lyn Canterbury Reply

  4. Thank you so much for posting these wonderful audio files. Today would have been Ann’s birthday, and in hearing her physical and poetic voice again, I am reminded of a life that was short, yet filled with friends, dance, art, and joy. She was a cherished friend, and she will never leave those of us who loved her.

    Rachel Reply

  5. Such a treat to hear both of these clips. Good to be reminded of so many details about Ann that I had forgotten. Thanks for preserving and sharing these.

    Juliet Reply

    • Thanks, Juliet. It seems that every few years someone that knew her stumbles across these pages. And their discovery reminds me again of the audio. It is nice to hear her voice again.

      avoision Reply

  6. Thank you for posting these thoughts and memories. I miss my sister so much sometimes. I forget how much she touched the lives of so many other people and that my grief isn’t solo but shared. As my nieces grow up, I try to infuse stories about Ann and introduce them to the interests that she would have.

    Amy Paeth Reply

    • Thanks, Amy. I’m very happy to share the snippets I have of Ann, as I feel lucky to have gotten to know her. And I want others, who never got the chance, to know her in the way that I did.

      I miss her too.

      avoision Reply

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