- May 10, 2012
- 9:00 am
Remembering Liza Whitacre
It will also be the inscription on the park bench that will soon be dedicated to the tragically deceased Loyola student.
“She had a life force that was obvious in all facets of her humanity,” David Whitacre says. “Her intellect, her will, energy, creativity, passion, and reverence; anybody who encountered her could see that.”
Whitacre, who would have been a part of the class of 2012 graduating this week, tragically passed away in October of 2009, in a bicycle accident at the corner of Damen and Wellington, near Hamlin Park in Roscoe Village. Now, a bench is being put in Hamlin Park to commemorate her life, and a memorial service will be held to dedicate the bench on June 3, from noon to 1 p.m.
For the last two and a half years, a ghost bike (a painted white bike that acts as a memorial for anyone killed in a bicycle accident) has been locked at the corner of Damen and Wellington, constantly adorned in flowers, notes, and mementos from those grieving her death. Her father says this has been a place for those who knew her to find comfort, but he has been looking for a way to mark this spot more permanently.
“The ghost bike has been a visible center of grief and remembrance. The problem is that it is clearly a temporary device, given that it is temporal in nature,” he says. “It made sense to try to create a mark of greater permanence.”
He decided a bench in the nearby park would be the best solution to this problem, but he also wanted to offer a time for those who have been grieving to come together. The service, which he stresses starts right at noon (as baseball teams changed their schedule to accommodate this event), will include three readings reflecting on her life and death written by himself, and four songs will be played. He says that people can bring blankets to sit on, and flowers and notes to leave with the bench, if they feel so inclined.
Mr. Whitacre feels that this is a way for those who have been grieving to come together after the fact of her death, and celebrate his daughter’s life; the girl who was an avid biker, fluent in French, and who worked at Metropolis Coffee Company in hopes of pursuing a career in the coffee business.
“I think it is hard because when you are in the process of dealing with deep trauma and grief, people are forced to put together a memorial while they are in grief… it is hard to walk away from that and feel resolved,” he says. “This is a second chance, two and a half years later, to reflect on the loss and to come back to it and speak to her collectively.”
The memorial service will be held at Hamlin Park from noon to 1 p.m. on June 3, 2012.