This is the 33rd installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a sometimes cranky and often times humorous grandfather actually born in Tucson and writing from my desk in Tucson, the Old Pueblo.…
Losing a friend. We all lose friends. Missing a friend. Words repeat in our thoughts and tears roll out from our soul, and when you try to put pain and numbness into words, this is what it looks like. Missing a friend. Why?
I met Stacy sometime in 1989 when she was recovering from knee surgery and my job as a grad student was to drive her and other injured and disabled University of Arizona students around campus in a golf cart. She was so young then and so young now. Most of us know she was an All-City shortstop with Cholla, a feared hitter who seemed to never make an error. She was one of Mike Candrea’s first big-name recruits from the Old Pueblo. She played on the south side, she was bilingual, she was a Latina, she wanted to become a teacher and she was a fierce competitor. She was a national champion twice over. She was everything.
She was fun to be around and I felt like I was her older brother but she became a sister I lost touch with until she stepped into the coach’s box at Salpointe in 2012, some twenty years later. She looked the same. She was a teacher. Fierce. She was everything and more.
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She was a good coach and a good mother. She was a good volleyball player and I discovered that my parents knew her parents, which is a very common thing in the Old Pueblo. So many people knew her. So many loved her. So many miss her.
I got a text from my brother this past Monday telling me he heard Stacy had left us. I was on the freeway. I pulled over. Why? We all lose friends. We all miss friends. She had lots of friends and a very loving family with a husband and children and hundreds of current and former students.
My heart and my soul seems empty but it cannot possibly compare to their loss. Not even close. However we may feel, however we may feel lost, however we may feel cheated out of a chance to grow old together, we must be there for them. Our lives are filled with memories of Stacy but they are also filled with meaningless thoughts that distract us from those thoughts. And, as I know from the loss of a nephew, it’s the meaningless thoughts that keeps us closer to sanity.
My father gave me the gift of seeking knowledge and looking for answers even when the questions are unknown but I have no idea why someone as young and beautiful and loved as Stacy would be taken from us without warning. I have no idea why my cancer was discovered by pure luck and cut out of my body in time. I have no idea why children suffer and leave us. I have no idea why bad people can live forever. I have no idea. I will never know.
I know I’m traveling to Maryland to see my old high school friends this summer – my best friends. I know my life has changed this week. I know I’ve already told several of my close friends to take care of themselves. Yesterday was once tomorrow and today will soon be yesterday but there might never be a tomorrow.
I do know I miss Stacy.
I do know we all lose friends and sometimes friends lose us.
Memorial services for Stacy will take place on Friday May 5. Visitation will be from 8-9 am at Carrillo Mortuary, 204 N Stone Avenue. The rosary is scheduled for 9:30 am and mass will follow at 10 am at St. Augustine Cathedral next to Carrillo. Her burial will take place at approximately 11:30 am at Holy Hope Cemetery located 3555 N Oracle Road.
Story updated with quotes from legendary UA coach @CoachCandreaUA, who Stacy Redondo-Santa Cruz said was the “single-most influential man in my life” other than her father. Stacy, a letterwinner with UA from 1989-93, passed from a stroke at age 52. – https://t.co/1xj01kHtmt
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) April 18, 2023
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Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org