Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You never know when the meter's going to run out

This evening I learned that a young friend of mine - she was in her twenties - died. She'd moved from Pgh. to North Carolina a few years ago with Tom, the love of her life.

Tonight he told it happened last Saturday, in South Carolina. They had a car accident, she died in the life flight helicopter on the way to the hospital.

Her name was Jaime Vodvarka. She was a force of light and life.

She is the first person I ever hired for a job (years ago). I remember the day well. Jaime was my last interview of the day, I'd already met 3 ho-hum candidates for the job. When Jaime barrelled in, every bell & whistle in my head started clanging, "This is the one, you MUST hire her!" I told myself to pipe down & interview the woman, at that point I didn't even know if she could speak.

After a long & freaking energizing conversation, I hired her. My bells & whistles were correct, at every problem, at every disappointment, I could count on Jaime getting me up, wiping myself off and hitting the trail again. And she never even realized she was doing it.

The love of her life told me they'd gotten married a couple of weeks ago in a very small wedding (3 or 4 people in attendance). I said that was a really good thing. It might not be the wedding the world thinks you should have, it's the one they did have and they had it just in time.

Just in time is something I learned when I returned to life from my heart attack. This time - as I type - is just in time.

But Jaime, it's a crooked life when I out lived you my young friend.


  1. yes, it is. i wish you a peaceful heart.

  2. she was my 7th grade science teacher. there were so many memories from that class. she had so much energy and was always so pumped whenever the class discussion moved to the Pittsburgh Steelers or Star Wars. she will never be forgotten.

  3. Jaime was 31, a year older than me. We used to date in high school and then later, after college. After my dad died, I stayed at her house in NC for an entire month.

    It was always some amazing experience with her, beyond anything I could ever imagine. What she had that is now gone I do not even know. Enthusiasm? Lots of people are enthusiastic. She had a good heart and an adventuresome spirit. Whatever she had that was unique I have not really encountered in anyone else.

    We still talked every couple of months. More, it was just knowing that she was still out there having adventures, and that someday I could talk to her about them some more or she would come visit us.

    Her funeral's today, I'm far away from that so I'm posting something here

  4. Hi ?Gloria? Kristen here. Your predecessor, assuming you're Gloria. Yes, bells and whistles when I met Jaime, too. Thank you for hiring her! Oh how some wanted her gone when I came on board. I would not hear of it! I loved her. As did all who knew her, right? If you hated her, then you didn't know her. Rock on, jaime! "F" the man!

  5. Jaime was my first 'real' friend, a kid who at the age of seven recognized people's true spirit, unconditionally accepting in her friendship. After my parents divorce and our move to Pittsburgh in 1984, I was a very shy and sensitive kid. Jaime came bounding up to me on the school bus one day, a bolt of energy, asking questions without waiting for answers, too excited. Sometimes you don't really appreciate the role someone plays in your life until hindsight makes it clear. It's like that famous quote: "Life is understood backwards but must be lived forwards." Jaime was like no other person I have ever met and that might sound cliche but she really had something I can't put my finger on. Her particular brand of humor and worldview will be sorely missed.

    I wasn't able to attend her funeral since I live overseas but I wanted to write something here in her memory.

  6. Jaime recomended me for internship position in the RTP Product Development Guild a few days before lost her life in car accident and I can't believe that is happend...

    We had been participants in the competition DriveSafety for the Senior drivers, she had brilliant idea about new device for old drivers ... It is so hard that she could not safe her own life in crash.
    Jaime , thank you for everything, again and again.

  7. Hi Gloria, We all assume it's you.

    This is Kenny. It's been a little over a month. Every day, at some point, I still think it was all a dream... a bad nightmare. But it's not.

    She was my friend for over 10 years. It is hard to have someone in your life every day, and all of a sudden, "gone".

    I loved her a lot, she knew this, she loved me a lot, I knew this too. Everyone was so proud of her amazing accomplishments. I was just simply proud of her.

    A big piece of who I am is gone, but, I am glad, a big piece of hers is with me. The force decided that it was her time. Out of everything... I am glad I married her to Tom. I am glad, that in a silly way, she had a Jedi wedding. A misfit wedding. A hilarious wedding. In all its oddity and awkward, it was perfect.

    I want every one to know that the force is taking care of her, as she watches over us.

    Always remember the laughter.


  8. i loved jaime very much. we had countless adventures together thru high school, including running away on wild adventure to see the grateful dead. jaime made life meaningful, taught me to live and love all that this world has to offer. i will forever miss and love her. my heart goes to all the lives she has undoubtedly touched with her gentle and adventurous manner.