Google Me Gently
Part 3: An Appeal
From a Bedford, Indiana newspaper:
Phillips - Nicole Christene Phillips of Louisville, KY, formerly of Jeffersonville, IN, died Wednesday, October 9, 2002, at University Hospital in Louisville from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Born on April 12, 1971, she was the daughter of Thomas and Jill D. (Wagner) Phillips.
Surviving are her parents, Thomas and Jill Phillips of Jeffersonville, IN; paternal grandmother, Burnettia Denny of Bedford, IN; maternal grandmother, Vera Wagner of Bedford, IN; several aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her grandfathers.
She was a public defender in Clark County, IN, and a graduate of Indiana University and University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She was a member of the American Bar Association and was active in animal rights organizations.
Services for Nicole Phillips will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 12th, at North Chapel of Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville, IN. Burial will follow in Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Jeffersonville. Friends may call from 2-8 p.m. Friday at North Chapel of Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville. The family asks that friends consider memorial contributions be made to the Humane Society.
Oh. My. God.
That is NOT what I wanted to find. My only hope- and this is grasping at straws- is that this Nicole Christene Phillips, born in ‘71, from Indiana, was not the same person I had known. Maybe the People Search had crossed the records of two women with the same name and age. It could happen.
About all I can come up with to support this theory is that the Nikki Phillips I knew didn’t seem like someone who would grow up to be a lawyer. She wasn’t a brilliant student; she was a neo-hippie chick into partying on the weekends. I could see her dropping out to tour with the Dead before I could see her going to law school.
Of course, there’s nothing to say she couldn’t drop out to tour with the Dead, then get her shit together and go to law school. I’m sure it happens all the time. She was sixteen years old the last time I saw her. She could have gone on to become anything.
I don’t want to believe this is her, but I’m really afraid it is. Maybe part of what I saw in her - the light which drew me to her in the first place- was this spark of what she was to become. A public defender into animal rights. A person who did good, who contributed, who helped people (and animals.)
Probably the only way to 100% confirm that Nikki Phillips (who graduated from Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois in 1989) and Nicole Christene Phillips (who died in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002) are the same person is by shelling out the $40 for the background check. My peace of mind is worth at least that much, but I can’t really justify spending my family’s money (hard earned by my wife) on something which may or may not tell me something I really don’t NEED to know.
Plus, maybe I’m afraid to know for sure. At least now I have some slim hope that she’s still out there, alive. I wouldn’t even know how to go about grieving for her if I knew she was dead. It’s a strange situation. I never really knew her, but I did love her. The fact that my love was never requited or consummated makes little difference. She impacted my life in a huge way. A lot of who I am as a person, as a writer, and as a husband, has to do with the lingering effect she had on me.
So, here’s the appeal. If anybody who reads this (maybe you arrived here by Googling my name, or hers, or Glenwood High School, or Chatham, Illinois) has ANY information, please post a comment.
Or if anybody reading this has any suggestions on how to research this further (without spending money,) let me know that too. (The only further information I found was from the Mormon-run Genealogy web-site which, surprisingly, supplied me with NCP’s Social Security Number.) I’m not the most net-savvy person in the world, and I’ve simply run out of ideas for places to look. Maybe there’s something at the library that I could look up the old-fashioned way, I don’t know.
Or, if you read this and think “God, dude, give it up. She’s dead, all right? Why do you even care? She wasn’t your girlfriend. You’re married now, with two great kids, so just let go of a past which you never even had in the first place,” maybe I need to hear that, too.