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June 13, 2009

In Memory, Saige Reisler

Saige Reisler.jpg

Saige Reisler, Development Officer for our College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, died last Saturday after jumping off the Tappan Zee Bridge into the Hudson River. She was 33, with a teenage daughter and a new fiance.

Her memorial service today was beautiful, uplifting, even transformative. Her family had put much energy this past week into making meaning of something that seems unfathomable. Life and death are indeed mysteries.

Saige's minister gave profoundly comforting comments, reminding everyone that her spirit is very much with those gathered together. He felt confident that the Lord, rather than turning his back on Saige, caught her spirit before her body even hit the water.

I had had some interaction with Saige and was slated for more. I looked forward to our meetings - she seemed very sincere about the people she worked with. After a recent honors event, we shared the joy of a successful scholarship nomination for a very deserving undergraduate student. Her memorial service revealed the many ways in which she cared profoundly about others. She lived a life of sacrifice and giving and modeled that for others. Her approach to life has become magnified many times over in her death. Her mother urged people to share, to give, to help others.

Saige had apparently told her sister and daughter that when she died, she wanted her favorite piece of music to be played: a reggae version of "Over the Rainbow." It was light, airy, whimsical, and provided just the right touch after a very emotional few hours. I found the version on the internet - it was by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole; go to this link and then click on "Over the Rainbow" to hear 30 seconds of this song, and think of Saige. And here's a fuller version: enjoy...

Rest in peace, Saige. You will not be forgotten. Every time we see a firefly, it will be a reminder of your too-brief life and the many ways in which you touched others.

Posted by hgroteva at June 13, 2009 10:54 PM | In Memory / In Honor