Saturday, January 31, 2009

Connie Costantino

I met Connie about 20 years ago when she interviewed for a job with the San Diego County Library. I was on the interview panel and was in charge of checking references before we offered her the job. Her former supervisor was absolutely ecstatic that we were thinking of hiring her. I had never heard such glowing praises from a previous employer! The woman clearly loved Connie as a librarian and as a friend.

Though we were never “best friends,” Connie and I did have a lot in common. We supported each other psychologically and emotionally while we both pursued doctorates (me in library science, she in education). And when she became adjunct faculty for the SJSU library school, we shared teaching tips. We kept in touch through email and exchanged Christmas cards every year. One winter, when they were living in Marina del Rey while her husband oversaw a construction project at UCLA, she and Lenny invited Tim and me aboard their sailboat for a leisurely cruise. The four of us spent a lovely evening together, sailing around the marina and chatting.

After a long time not hearing from her, Connie called me last month to touch base. She told me she was looking forward to traveling to Rome with Lenny after the new year—a trip they had postponed while she took care of her mother in Buffalo, NY. Though I was sad to hear that her mom had passed away in November, I was not surprised that Connie had pretty much put her own life on hold to be with her mother the last few months of her life.

Early this month, Connie died suddenly at the London airport as she and Lenny were changing planes to go to Rome. She apparently had a blood clot in her lungs that killed her instantaneously. The news still shocks me and reminds us all that no matter how good a life one leads, death is always just a moment away.

Friends, family and colleagues are gathering to toast Connie’s generous life and spirit tonight as the sun sets outside her Oceanside beach home. She is already much missed . . .

No comments: