A blog post I didn’t want to write

This is a crochet blog, and I don’t like to write off topic, but recent events compelled me to take a detour.

In my last blog post, Substitute crochet remnants, I wrote the following:

…it was at this point, that an outside event occurred, and life was disrupted in a way that literally took all of my attention, and I found myself unable to focus on the crochet at hand.

I was not ready to talk about what had taken all of my attention, and in many ways I am still not.

Late Tuesday morning I was in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, doing what one does — waiting.

I had brought plenty of things to do, but before I got to those things, I went to Facebook and saw that there was a message from the wife of one of my cousins. Usually our exchanges are pleasant and fun, but this was decidedly somber.

She wrote:

I have been struggling with how to appropriately word this I am still in shock Lois and Mike Ladd were murdered in their home this weekend right now that is all I know homicide is still investigating and will not release any information yet

The Lois she referenced was was my father’s first cousin — my first cousin once removed. Mike was her husband.

I understood immediately why the writer had struggled with the words: there simply aren’t any.

If she had told me Lois and Mike had died in a car accident while pulling my cousin’s flamingo festooned golf cart to a Mardi Gras celebration, I would have understood.

If she had told me they had died as a result of a dual parachute malfunction while living out a lifelong dream to sky dive, I would have understood.

If she had told me something had gone horrifically wrong and they had died in a bonfire explosion while celebrating an obscure holiday, I would have understood.

But the two of them being stabbed to death while they slept — I don’t understand, and I never will.

Because of where the murders occurred, the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis lead the investigation, and the murders of my cousin and her husband became Report #691.

By 5:15 CDT, on Tuesday, March 19, the Major Case Squad announced that a suspect had been identified and was in custody, and while there were some leads still being pursued, they expected the investigation to wind down fairly quickly. As of this afternoon, Report #691 is now on the “Past Investigations” webpage. Less than three days after the case was opened, it seems that it is nearly ready to be closed.

But I don’t want the lives of my cousin and her husband to be defined by the manner of their deaths, so I want to take a moment to share what they were like in life.

My cousin Lois and her husband Mike had an “open doors” and “open hearts” approach to life. If you needed a ride or a cup of coffee or a place to live, they would help you out.

They were just as generous with their skills. The last time I saw Mike, he correctly diagnosed the origin of a persistent leak in my then home in North Carolina — all while riding in the backseat of the new Ford Flex my cousin Lois was driving as she made periodic interruptions directing me to look at some geographical feature or to tell me some historical tidbit. The leak was something that had eluded the parade of leak finders I had brought in, but Mike had it figured out in almost no time, and as soon as I got home, I was able to hire someone to finally fix the leak.

And if you were (or even were not) in need of an adventure, Lois in particular would make sure that you got one.

On that same visit she learned that my youngest son did not yet have his driver’s license but did have a driver’s permit. She took us out in that same Ford Flex on the back roads of Madison County where her older brother Allyn had taught her to drive. She traded places with my son, and then had him take the wheel. She would periodically yell “STOP,” and when the vehicle came to a rest, she would critique my son’s driving and tell him to pull his shoulders back and advise him not to worry when crossing what looked like perilously narrow bridges. She assured him that the drivers coming in the other direction would have more experience and would not let him hit their trucks.

Every single day with Lois was memorable.

The first time I visited Lois as an adult, this was the sight that greeted me:

The pink flamingo in the rain
The pink flamingo in the rain

And that flamingo ended up inspiring more than one crochet project including this flamingo inspired practically perfect bag:

flamingo inspired granny square crochet bag
The other side of the crochet bag

along with this crochet soccer ball:

crochet soccer ball on a table
The soccer ball taking in the view from the top of a table

I am going to miss my Cousin Lois and her husband Mike for the rest of my life, but I will do my best to follow in her footsteps with her simultaneous embrace and break with tradition as exemplified in her choice of a teal wedding gown:

Lois Buchta Ladd 1976
Lois Buchta Ladd 1976

and I will remember the two of them as they were on their wedding day and every day after that: working together, side by side:

Mike and Lois on their wedding day
Mike and Lois on their wedding day

24 thoughts on “A blog post I didn’t want to write

    1. Dear Leslie, I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t begin to know what you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It was so nice of you to share your memories it was so touching. Take care I will be in touch.

  1. Oh Leslie so tragic. They are in Gods embrace and they are there together. I know there are few words to comfort you right now, however I see that, for them to make this journey together is a Blessing.
    One isn’t left behind to mourn. They are together rejoicing. My heart goes out to you and your family my friend.

  2. I am so sorry.
    Please don’t let events like this prevent you or anyone else from continuing an “open door, open hearts” policy. Thank you for sharing and showing us through Lois and Mike how to be good people in the world. It’s a tragic loss. x

  3. Oh Leslie!!!!! Through my tears I’m trying to find words adequate enough to express my sympathies, but there truly are none. Open doors and hearts must always prevail in the world. Your eloquent description of Lois and Mike have brought them to life in my heart and mind and I will keep them alive in my memory my friend. Sending you love light comfort and grace during this time that seems to stop time! ♥️?♥️

  4. Thank you for posting this lovely remerberance of my brother Mike and my lovely sister in law Lois. My life is almost destroyed coming back to trying to live again will take the rest my life. All my love to all people so terribly effective by this stemless tragedy.
    Dodie Ladd Levi

  5. Oh, Leslie- “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t begin to say my condolences. Spiralling, reeling, horror!
    A lame, but heartfelt virtual hug…

  6. Your celebration of their lives was beautifully wrote! Hugs and prayers for your whole family.

  7. Your celebration of their lives was beautifully wrote! Hugs and prayers for your whole family.

  8. Leslie: I’m soooo sorry to hear of the loss of Lois and Mike! Reading about them through your wonderful words and heartfelt message makes me feel like I know Them! And also you too! Sometimes we are not allowed to write anything personal but I find it is important to get a glimpse into people’s lives even though we may never meet! Thank you for being you??????

  9. I am so sorry to read about the loss of your cousin and her husband. My thoughts go out to you and the rest of the extended family in your time of terrible grief.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss, and for the world’s loss of two beautiful people. What a beautiful memorial you have written. I hope your memories help comfort you in this time

  11. That was beautiful. I will never forget their Kindness and our love for dressing up in costumes. We had so much fun together. I will cling to the memories.

  12. Thanks for sharing this story about the lives of your cousin Lois and her husband Mike. They were great people whose lives were lost in a brutal act of rage . Glad they enriched your life.

  13. so very sorry for your loss. thank you for giving us a vision of their wonderful lives. lives of love and remember how very lucky this world was to have them in it and how much the people we love will be missed and remember how much they loved and don’t let them be forgotten.

  14. Miss Leslie, please accept my condolences and prayers. My heart goes out to you. The pictures are beautiful; thank you for sharing this story. I hope you heal in your heart, mind, and soul, with God’s help.
    Isabel

  15. I am sorry for your loss, Leslie, and for the loss of these special people to the world, as well.
    You will be in my prayers.

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