Monday, July 14, 2008

Heartache in the Midst of Joy

Ceal and I got back from the 311th annual gathering of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) last night. I will post more about it in the next few days.

On saturday evening, we got a call from Samantha, our granddaughter, informing us that Lilli Manis who had just graduated from high school and from the SAYF (Southern Appalachian Young Friends) program was killed by a drunk driver that morning. Her boyfriend Philip Jurov, also from SAYF, was seriously injured but as of saturday night was listed in fair condition.

Lilli was a beautiful person, and very smart. She was going to study Asian Studies at Earlham this fall, where Philip also planned to study Computer Science (Lilli seemed to be quite the computerphile as well, I had several very geeky discussions with them both during retreats).

Here is a picture of Lilli and Philip:

Lilli Manis and Philip Jurov

After we learned of the accident, Susan and Lloyd Lee Wilson came and sat with us in worship for a while, and Cheryl Sutton of Iowa YM-C joined us. The next morning at the "morning communion" Friends were again very comforting. I don't really have words for my appreciation of the deep, loving care we were shown.

There is so much prayer needed, for Philip, for friends and families, for our SAYF community, for the 19 year-old who caused the wreck and for his friends and family.


  1. Dearest Mark and Ceal--

    Wow, where was I when this news broke on the evening of Seventh Day...?!

    I am sorry that I never heard the news while at sessions, otherwise, I surely would have joined you in worship... For now, though, I will carry you both, and your granddaughter, and the other SAYF Friends in my heart.

    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

  2. Richard,
    It was great seeing you, Mary and Mark at YM as well. I did find what you shared on first day morning to be very appropriate. I think the discussion was very healing for us.

    It was late on seventh day evening. We had gone back to the room and found we had a message from Samantha. There were still some people downstairs, and when I saw Susan I went right to her, she and Ceal are very close. We didn't really make any announcements, though. Thank you for your prayers.

    We are going to Chapel Hill this weekend for the memorial, and bringing 4 SAYFers with us (another from Atlanta is already there). We're staying at the CHFM meeting house.

    Philip is home from the hospital now.

    With love,

  3. Rich,
    Thank you!

    We went to Lilli's memorial this past seventh day, and it was standing room only! Three people read poems that Lilli had written, and they were fantastic. She was amazingly talented, as a musician, artist, poet. She was smart, and best of all, had a talent for making people feel better. She touched a lot of lives in her short time here.

    Philip was at the memorial, so he is at least doing well physically, but this has obviously been just devastating for him. All we could do was hug him and tell him we love him. If all goes as planned and he starts college in the fall, he'll have a lot of friends from SAYF with him at Earlham.

    With love,

  4. This sad news hits home. We have a young woman in our meeting who (God willing) will be a first year student at Earlham this fall and would have been Lilli's classmate.

    Thank you for helping more of us share the grief.