As an aside, I saw The Missing. I give it a C-. It had precisely four good things about it: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blachett, the chick who played the youngest daughter and some honest-to-goodness real research into Indian lore and practices. Other than that, the movie was about 45 minutes too long, ghost story my butt - it was a western, pure and simple, the scene transitions were choppy, giving me the sense that the director had a couple of cool scenes in mind but that was it. I'd give this one a pass. Wait for cable. The only thing that actually kept me in the theater was the fact that I paid $8.50 to see it and darn it, I was going to see it.
A Strange Thing Called Grief
Grief is a funny thing. Recently, I found out a friendly acquaintance of mine was killed in a car crash on the San Mateo bridge. I read it through Rich. I think he sent an email to the Good Omens list. Maybe he wrote about it in his journal. I don't know. I can't remember. I just remember thinking, "Well, shit. I liked her." A couple of tears stung my eyes. I pushed the tears and my thoughts of her away. I shut it all down.
Over the next couple of days, I would think of her and smile. I knew her from gaming conventions and remembered just how dynamic and vivacious she was. But, I wasn't sad. I didn't cry. I just remembered her, her bouncy energy and her love of life. Then, I put those thoughts of her away.
Monday, Lori came into work and while getting caught up on email and LiveJournal, discovered Anicka's death. It hit her hard. Anicka was a definite fixture at the Dreams of Deirdre LARPs as well as their main cheerleader. She was at every one that I attended. I know that Lori was closer to her than me. As Lori got upset, I suddenly started feeling all this emotion. This sadness. This loss. For a person I only saw 2-3 times a year at gaming conventions.
It got worse as Lori got more the details and filled them in for me. It wasn't just a car accident on the bridge. It was a car accident and a car fire. I followed the link Lori provided to the news story about it and was horrified to find out that the woman's body was burned beyond recognition. Also that, "Emergency crews and witness were unable to reach the victim before the car burned up." No one knows if she was conscious, fighting to escape the flames or if she was already dead when the car was consumed.
I don't know what is making me cry more. The death of Anicka or the manner of her death. Death by fire is up there in my top five worst ways to die. I feel stupid, silly and angry for feeling all this emotion for someone I barely knew. Granted. We probably would have been much better friends if we had lived closer together. In a weird way, I don't feel like I have the right to grieve for her. I mean, what about her parents, her siblings, the kids she fostered and her other loved ones? Those people who intimately knew her and loved her and are having to deal with her loss in a much more painful in-your-face manner? I hope my grief doesn't cheapen it for them. Rich says it doesn't.
In any case, I will miss seeing her at DDC where I first met her two years ago. Part of me is still hoping it is a huge case of mistaken identity but the realist in me knows it isn't.
Part of me is also feeling guilty for this... The story I am going to start writing deals with a woman missing her recently deceased husband on Christmas. A little bit ago, I was wondering what event I was going to have put myself into to get a taste for that kind of grief again. Now, I know. I'll be able to write her sorrow as if it were my own. Because, in a way, it is my own. I can only hope that Anicka would be pleased in some way at helping me write my story.
I think she would. As Rich pointed out to me, "Anicka was a cheerful, smiling person, and for as long as we get to remember her, she will always be smiling and cheerful - we can carry her sunshine in our hearts forever." I think she'd really like that, too. Sometimes, Rich really has a way with words.
The story in the paper about her death.
November 28, 2003
Lifelong volunteer killed in wreck
By HEATHER BOERNER
Sentinel staff writer
Anicka Mihalik found her calling when she was young — being a mentor to a generation of San Lorenzo Valley children.
She started as a volunteer with the Highlands Park summer recreation program, playing games, swimming and doing arts and crafts with 50 children who otherwise would have spent the summer with baby sitters. At the time she said she simply "liked working with the kids."
But her years of volunteer work were cut short Tuesday when a speeding big-rig, driven by Colorado truck driver Lee Lloyd Tracy, rammed the Volvo station wagon she was driving, killing her. The car, which was owned by her boyfriend, burst into flames.
The accident occurred on the San Mateo Bridge. California Highway Patrol officers are still investigating the accident and had few details about how it occurred.
Mihalik was 28.
Friends and family remembered Carol Anicka Mihalik, a native of Boulder Creek, as intensely loyal, creative, sparkling and encyclopedic in her knowledge.
"She was the brightest light I have ever known," said sister Krishna Mihalik Abel. "When Anicka was little she adored the Mighty Mouse cartoon and spent two or three years in a Mighty Mouse cape that mom made her. She was intense in whatever she did and threw her entire being into life without looking back."
She threw herself into working with children when she was only 12, volunteering at Highland Park in its summer program. She later volunteered with its after-school recreation program. She was instrumental in organizing the San Lorenzo Valley Youth Center.
In recent years, she began working for the Fellowship Foundry, which makes pewter wares for Renaissance Faires. She organized and sold the wares at the events.
She had a flair for theater, participating for years in Lupin Theater Group productions as an actress, producer, stage manager and makeup artist. She also enjoyed Thursday Anime Night groups with friends, Saturday role-playing games group and the Sharks home game group.
She was also an avid gardener, said mother Susan Mihalik, and loved talking to what she called her "plantlings." Anicka loved her 13-year-old dog, which she called her "sweetie honey."
She is survived by parents Susan and Dr. Andrew Mihalik of Boulder Creek, brother Michael Mihalik of Boulder Creek, sister Krishna Abel of Burns, Wyo., and niece Brenna Abel and nephew Morgan Abel, both of Burns, Wyo. She was also very close to her brother-in-law, her so-called "bonus brother," Kevin Abel, and boyfriend Bohdi Woodsorrel of Boulder Creek.
Services have not been planned yet. In her memory, the family asks that friends plant a flower, hug a child, pet an animal, play a game, read a book and be with friends.
Tarot Card for the Day: Temperance, Inverted