Just a few days after closing A Christmas Carol, I flew down to North Carolina for my family's usual holiday. It's always a low-keyed affair, which suits us fine. It was while at dear ol' Dad's that, miles away in DC, this year's holiday turned frightening, then ugly, then ultimately melancholy.
|Tricia McCauley was a DC-based actress, yoga instructor, and herbalist. Back in the 60s, these descriptions might have made her sound, well, "Hippy-Dippy". She would have embraced that label, I think.|
|An outdoor Shakespearean performance,|
early in her career.
I did more than a dozen staged readings for the Stage Guild during this period, and a lot of them included Tricia. Our group spent a lot of downtime together, after rehearsal and before performances, and we had a habit of walking around the corner from the little black box used for these performances to some café or other to grab a bite.
|Though a regular with Washington Stage Guild,|
Tricia worked all over, including Olney Theatre,
where she played Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever.
On stage, Tricia was particularly adept at various accents, a talent she was to use quite precisely in the only full production in which we appeared together.
|Rubbing elbows with a Royal, here's Tricia introducing HRH|
Prince Charles to the urban garden she helped to maintain.
I was to learn the following details (such as they are) a little later. Apparently Tricia made her traditional dish for the dinner (Brussels sprouts, I've had them, delish) and sent out word that she was on her way, around 5 or so Christmas evening. She did not show up at the party. Her absence was noticed but did not arouse too much concern. Apparently, one time in the past, Tricia had planned to attend the dinner, then slept right through it.
The police had alerted Tricia's family that her body had been found. Details were sketchy, but apparently she had crossed paths with a homeless drifter with mental problems; this guy was seen driving her car around town on Monday, and was apprehended after robbing a CVS hours earlier. Recovery of her car (and a later autopsy) confirmed the worst: this monster had raped and strangled Tricia, then tied her up with a seat belt and stuffed her in the back seat of her own car. He then drove around the city, using her credit cards and even picking up a prostitute.
I'm haunted by these images. Tricia was a force of lightness, and positive energy, and the webpages set up to honor her have focused on these attributes. No one wants to focus on the violent way she was taken from us, what does it solve at this point? But I'm not evolved enough to be able to ignore the horrific events which ended Tricia's life; I'm still wracked with questions.
|Tricia was also a Life Coach, both professionally, and to any|
friend in need.
These questions are torturous, and don't do anyone any good, but I'm afraid I can't help myself.
When all of us woke up on that Tuesday to that terrible news, many people in DC noted the rainbow in the sky that day:
Tricia's pathway to the great beyond? Who knows, but it was a beautiful image on a truly ugly day, so perhaps it helps us to think so. We should follow Tricia's own words; believe me, I'm trying: