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For Lora

Lora Jeanette Moreland was a resident of Hamilton Towers in Jefferson City, Missouri. She passed away suddenly, and unexpectedly, on Saturday, July 26, 2008. She was forty-six years old.
To me, she had become an unwelcome nuisance. Everything always had to be about her. She had become obsessed with me; spreading rumors throughout the Towers about her and I running off together. I wanted to see her move.

Lora had this clockwork-like habit; every time she received bad news, she would have some sort of medical crisis. She would always go to the hospital and return home that night. I came to think nothing of it, save for I was glad she was gone for a few hours.

The last time I spoke to her was Wednesday, the 23rd. I had told her two days prior that I had been fielding a lot of complaints about her insistent nosiness. She hadn't taken the news well.
She told me that I had been holding her to a double-standard. She always told me when people were bitching about me, but I never returned the courtesy. I told her I didn't want to give her one more (last) thing to stress over.
She then said that she would leave everyone alone. She was withdrawing. She gave in.
She said she just wanted to be happy, and outlive her daughter. She didn't expect to be here much longer.

Three days later, she died.
I did not do right by her.

Sam says that she doesn't ever see us getting married because I "do not have that level of commitment to any one person" and she couldn't be more right. I do not allow myself to care about anyone to the point where they can do me harm. The people I do end up caring about, I look for reasons to expel them from my life. It's sick, it's wrong, and I wish I knew how to fix it.

Lora would be waiting in the lobby every night for me when I arrived at work. She always had a meal ready; not just fast food, but something she had put effort into. When she found out I was diabetic, she tailored her cooking accordingly, and still managed to fill me up without running up my blood sugar.
Sometimes she would have whole notebooks filled up with her observations of the people we were trying to evict in the Towers. A lot of my investigations were based on her efforts. She feared nothing; I told her repeatedly that she was making a mistake, blaring to people that she was the one who was turning people in, getting them written up. She was threatened more times than I could count.

It didn't matter what kind of help you needed. She was just there. She took in the youngest resident of Hamilton Towers and fed her when she had no food. She targeted, investigated, and saw the eviction process through the end on more than three tenants in the six months I've been there.

I used to think her constant pleas for attention were just egotism. Lora had been through more hell in her lifetime than most of us could go through in three, including two divorces, the death of one son, nearly dying in a plummeting car crash, and eventually, living the rest of her life out in terrible loneliness.

No, her cries for attention were just asking someone--anyone--to love her.
She threw herself at me, and I couldn't return her affection in any way, shape, or form. I completely shut her out....and today I saw her buried.

So, Lora...if you can take two minutes away from your son and read this, please know that you did mean a lot to me. Please forgive me for my coldness, my shortsightedness, and my cruelty. I sincerely mean it when I say you were one of the best people in the Towers. Thank you for dinner, over and over again.

Find the peace that eluded you in this life, and I hope I see you again someday.
Not soon.
But someday.


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