Since many of my friends subscribe to this blog (or perhaps I should say all subscribers are by definition friends), I thought I should let you know why I'm taking some time off from posting. My wife of nearly 31 years, Sandra Haarsager (the picture of her on a jet ski was taken September 20 in Labadee, Haiti), died last Saturday after a short bout with an aggressive pneumonia that was itself a complication of a 2½-year bout with cancer. In my last post six days ago, I said that we were writing a book together. It would have been her third and two others were in various stages of completion.
Sandra was an amazing woman, accomplished in journalism, administration, academia (she was a "full bird" professor), music and -- not the least -- motherhood. In spite of a stage 4 cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2005, she pretty much carried on the same ambitious schedule she always had, though she did give up her college's associate dean job to go back to teaching full time. On that occasion, Dan Bukvich, a talented University of Idaho music faculty colleague and friend composed and framed a piece using the letters of her name and the letters of words that he felt (accurately) described her. These words were Astute, Calm, Insightful, Understanding, Kind and Professional. To those, I would add Intrepid.
Update 18 Oct. 2007:
We held a memorial service for Sandra at the University of Idaho a week ag0. Some 400 people attended. The music was amazing. The tributes were touching. Those who attended will never forget it. Or her. The Argonaut newspaper at the university carried a story about it here. Thanks to the many, many of you who via email or in comments below or who sent cards conveyed your friendship in this time. --Dennis