Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tribute to my #1 Reader

Chris and Debbie Copstead, Thanksgiving break '08 at their
surprise 30th wedding anniversary party

My number one reader, Debbie Copstead, passed away on May 10 from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. She and her husband Chris have been great friends to me since I became involved with Coeur d'Alene's Junior Miss program as a junior in high school. Chris was committee co-chair and Debbie was a committee member. For my senior project in high school I volunteered on the committee too and got to know them better. Debbie is one of my biggest fans and always made sure to tell me she was reading my blog and looking at all my pictures. The knowledge that I needed to give her new material was one of the reasons I made sure to post occasionally, even if I didn't think anything worth writing about was happening in my life! Debbie was diagnosed a few years ago with ALS. The illness slowly took away her strength of body but never her mind. It also took away her ability to speak, but we all know I can talk enough for the both of us! She'd write me questions and I'd talk an hour, and before I'd leave she'd tell me "I love you" in sign language. I always visit the Copsteads every time I'm home for vacation. Every visit Debbie downplayed her own trials, excited to know what I was doing in my life and how my family was doing. She always remembered to ask how my brother Scott was feeling. When introducing me to people she always told them I was Coeur d'Alene's prettiest Junior Miss. She always knew how to make people feel good about themselves! I'm sad I didn't get to go right home to Idaho this summer so I could visit with her one more time, but I find comfort in knowing that she's now in a place where she can talk and laugh and live free of her tired body. Someday I'll catch up with her on the other side and we'll have the rest of eternity to talk. Until then, let me know if anyone else is reading this blog. Debbie doesn't need it anymore now that she can watch what I'm doing!
As for an update on my doings, the research project is coming along. I'm learning a lot. Things are coming together a little differently than I expected, but in a good way. I'll have a lot of good material to use for writing my thesis in the fall. Time is passing quickly and I'm over halfway done. Four weeks down, three to go. Life here isn't as secluded than I thought it would be. I've had the internet to use and we've gone somewhere every weekend so I get caught up on all my phone messages then since I don't get cell service here. We've gone to Saint George for a couple of weddings and a high school graduation for cousins, and one weekend we went up north for my uncle's last concert before he retires as a music teacher. My mom came down for the concert and one of the weddings. It was fun to see her.

We have no more trips planned for now. Maybe I'll get more work done on the weekends! If y'all wonder what I'm actually doing, I spend time each day observing everyday life around her and conducting formal interviews with individuals around town about their lives and their impressions of Orderville. I spend the rest of the day typing up my notes (about 25 single spaced pages a week). All this takes up 30-40 hours a week. It's not bad, just a lot of time in front of a computer. I'll be glad when I'm really out of school for the summer!
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