In Memory: Molly Houck Gorrell

MollyMolly. Mols. Mouck. That last one, only I called you. And only you called me Waffle. Buried somewhere in my parents’ basement is a painting of yours, oil on canvas, Pollock-esque, with the letters W = M. Waffle = Mouck. It was our silly equation, marking our silly, and not so silly, friendship. It marked affection, and support, and laughter, and high school levity.

You died this week.

It is hard, and good, but the hard kind of good, to see those words on the screen. Because those four black on white words, followed by a period, followed by the long pause of a blinking cursor, well, that’s where we all are. We are struggling with that reality. With the blackness on whiteness of it, with that period, and with that blinking cursor, because what, Molly, do we say after those four words? Can you help us? Words were not a problem for you. They’re now a problem for us.

You know the we, the us, that I am talking about. You have other we’s, other us’s, I know. Your family, for whom I am praying. Your friends that you wrenched and four-wheeled with (so cool–long live the spirit of Tippy), your friends in Houston … and you have other we’s I don’t even know about, I’m sure.

But the we I’m talking about you know better than anyone. Because you were at the center of that we, our group, our gang, our high school friends. What a we that was. It was where I first learned the power of we, the importance, the joy, the wonder of we. And that we wouldn’t have been without you, or if it would have been, it just would not have been as true, as good, as beautiful. You were the center, without being the center of attention. I don’t think I knew it then, but I know it now, post those four black on white words. Molly, I can’t imagine any of it without you–laying upside down on The Rock looking at the lights of Boulder, jumping on your trampoline, the dances, the Viewings (your cakes!), the Week, Club, Pop Rocks, toilet paper and packing peanuts, Holliday Drive-In (it’s now a neighborhood-lame), debriefing DTR’s, Cy’s basement, Rieg’s basement, my basement, Shannon’s pool, Heart Lake, Snow Camp, Mao, Ha, life, high school.


Our hearts are broken, our eyes our puffy and red. We find ourselves bewildered, here at the beginning of middle-agedness, a season where there should be wisdom and answers, right now we are muddled in confusion and questions.

And yet, I’m talking to you. Because I do still claim words, life, joy, grace, after the blinking cursor, after those words, “you died this week.” I claim Christ, and your nearness to him. That he has seized you, and you him, and that your smile, though hard to imagine, is bigger and more beautiful than we remember. And so I say thank you, and we miss you, and we love you.

W = M.

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  1. Troy Gorrell says

    Thanks Jeff.

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