JON WEINBACH wrote a story in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the flaw that all the Kentucky Derby horses this year have in common — their ancestor Native Dancer and his feet of clay, so to speak. I was extremely upset over the death of Barbaro, and attended a Derby party today with great trepidation. I was so relieved when the race was over and no one was hurt. Then the news that Eight Belles was down and nearly immediately euthanized.

Several of us at the party broke into tears and had to leave the room. Not only a horse was down, but she was the only philly. Like Hillary Clinton, all of the women at the party had been cheering her on.  We were stunned.  Needless to say the party turned somber. So when my name was called out about a half hour later, I was caught in that weird place where I had won the party’s little trifecta pool, but at what cost?  Talk about a hollow celebration.

So I wrote this little note to Weinbach: “I’m just so sorry that your story was so correct. We attend a Derby party every year. My husband and I won our little pool the year Barbaro won and I won again today. It made me sick to my stomach. Felt like blood money. I won’t be going to another Derby party, but I will be donating some of my winnings to the American Humane Society so at least other animals in need can benefit.”

I am adding to that donation a hospice for animals featured on Oprah, Martha Stewart and other shows called Angel’s Gate. http://www.angelsgate.org. Take a look at what they do. Talk about love.

This was just one unexpected piece of news this week. My oldest friend fell and cut her forehead open requiring stitches. We learned a volunteer and donor at work died. And I got horrible news about another friend, Faye Bordy Fears. Faye was for many years the editor of Dramalogue, a publication owned by her uncle and ultimately sold to Backstage. I also wrote for Dramalogue for several years and got to know Faye a bit, went to her house for parties, to her baby shower. And she came to my house, we went to plays. She even stepped in to help when an old boyfriend was being a jerk. She gave me wedding advice. When the magazine was sold, she and her family moved to Los Osos, ironically where my oldest friend who cut her forehead this week also lives. I didn’t go to see her enough. When I heard the news on Wednesday, I called her husband David and heard his voice crack when I said, “Tell me the news I heard isn’t true.” It was. Faye died due to complications from a routine surgery on Monday, shocking all who knew her. If you know Faye, you can email the family at fayefearsmemorial@yahoo.com.  A gathering will be held by the family over the summer.

I’ve had a lot of unexpected loss in my life, and it doesn’t get that much easier to bear. Yes, I’ve grown more philosophical with age, and I feel loss differently. When I was young there was drama and shock and some level of fear about death. Now I feel losses of friends and family as a numbing shock first, and then deep sadness because I now know how each loss takes up a little more room in your heart. I think about their unrealized dreams and hopes, and that also makes me think about mine. A lot to think about on a Sunday afternoon.

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