Weird day. When I got to the ELI at 3 to meet Hongying, a fellow grad student, and our conversation partner, Michelle (her real name is Jung-Ah Kim Han), Hongying told me that she had a flat tire and that Michelle wasn’t answering her phone and hadn’t shown up yet. We decided to change Hongying’s tire first, and the try calling Michelle again. We have never had trouble reaching her before, and she is usually very on-time.
Hongying had never changed a tire before, so I got to show her how. I have change, already in my 10 years of driving, 5 flats. I’m a pro.
After we went back in and washed our hands, I called Michelle and left a message. We ran into Tamara, another grad student and ELI teacher. I knew she had Michelle in her speaking class, so I asked her if she was at school today. Tamara told us that she had been in a bad accident on Highway 65 on her way to the ELI from her home in Branson yesterday morning! She was in a coma and had brain surgery because her brain was swollen! Scary.
Then, at 6:30, Tamara called me, crying, telling me that Michelle had passed away. I just spent the last semester getting to know this woman, who is married and has two children under 9. Can’t believe it. At this point, I don’t think it’s hit me yet.