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Emily Willegal
The Emily Letter


Vincent J Cataldi

1651 N. Farwell Ave.  #110

Milwaukee., WI  53202



Parents, Family and Friends of Emily:


I am so sorry for your loss.  Please accept my greatest possible regret.


Personal experience with deaths in my family taught me that each such human tragedy is so unique that outsiders can never truly comprehend another humans’ loss. Please accept that I know that I am not able to understand the magnitude of your loss, yet as ‘human’, I must share with you, profound sadness, confusion, anger, and an irresistible drive for ‘Truth’. 

Many on the peripheral of your pain, wish we could help in some way, and mostly that is not possible. Yet due to timing, by coincidence or ‘Will of God’, I shared a very short, but meaningful, moment with Emily.  I write to share this moment she shared with me, hopeful the knowledge can somehow help you.

Early in the morning of the 27th Emily walked up to me with a great big smile, just to be kind and respectful.  She was leaving for home, and decided to take that extra moment to say hello to me.  She walked up, put her hand out to shake mine, and said ‘Vince, I am Emily, and we have never been properly introduced, although I have seen you many times’. I gladly accepted that shake of introduction, and she grasped my cold hand with both of her hands; and I thought, ‘how wonderfully warm and sweet’.


Emily came with friends after work many times, and it was always a delight to watch her play with these people.  Her effervescent smile sparkled around her, exuding happiness, gentleness, and confidence.  This positive, gentle energy was irresistibly contagious and strengthened all those around her. It was a delight to see Emily delighted.


I knew her name, so when Emily extended her hand to introduce herself ‘properly’, I smiled, laughed, and thanked her; and then explained that I never remember names, yet somehow I already knew hers’. She was a bit flustered when I explained that I asked her name months earlier because she seemed sweet so often. We talked for a very short moment, mutually agreeing to eagerly anticipate the next time we could talk as she played after work. I felt honored by her gesture of friendship.

I hope you find comfort knowing that Emily was always interacting kindly with, and a positive influence on, all those around her; even a ‘near stranger’ like me.  It took some courage for me to write you this, but I decided I owed it to Emily to share this moment with you. Emily still inspires gentle courage through her example.



Most Regretfully

Vincent J Cataldi