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A Northern Light That Went Out Too Soon

First Person

March 06, 1998|KERRY MADDEN-LUNSFORD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

I do remember how she let Molly pay for little grocery items at Mayfair while she waited for her at the front of the store. I was impressed by her patience, as I typically herded my two through the checkout, feeling like I was lassoing unruly colts. Marina, on the other hand, never seemed in a rush.

I talked to Gail, Marina's friend, who said she had been fine before Christmas.

"She'd been nursing an elderly couple, then everyone in her family got the flu, and she was sickest. She was in intensive care for a month. Her mother came out from Finland to be with her. She died in her husband's arms." I couldn't speak.

When I think of Marina, I think of a mother and daughter sailing on a ship in the land of the midnight sun to see the northern lights. I think of her easy laughter as our daughters twirled in fits of giggles across the studio in the sunshine of a Saturday morning, the dance of the 7-year-olds. When I think of Marina, I think of sunflowers and a child in a white dress with a burning wreath of candles for a crown.

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