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.
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:
And that flamingo ended up inspiring more than one crochet project including this flamingo inspired practically perfect bag:
along with this crochet soccer ball:
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:
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: