For the semester or so before I got kicked out of acting school I took the New Haven Line to the city each day, which was pretty terrifying. That sounds silly to say for a kid who’d only lived right up the road from New York but my childhood was extremely abnormal so for reasons which will become clear in the weeks and months ahead, gentle reader. I will hold nothing back, I promise. Until then, read on….
The young woman I took the train with each day was one of the bravest people I have ever known. I was way too young, proud, broken, immature, angry and foolish to have seen that then. I was too intimidated by her because she was very popular in our hometown, beloved by all, and after the shit I went through I didn’t trust a soul so I wasn’t in the headspace to become her friend. Not the kind she deserved, anyway. I do know for a fact that she was loved everywhere she went and that was deservedly so. It was impossible to hide how warm and welcoming her energy was. It was evident whenever she was there. I mean, the smiles she would get would be those real ones that touch the eyes, and that was consistent and uninterrupted for the extent of her life.
[Ed: Fun fact, sometimes I have flashbacks and they’re awesome. Just flashed back to her sister’s laugh and it makes me laugh. She just had this laugh. Two of the top five strongest women I’ve ever met.]
Her illness was impossible to hide, too, and I ache to think what she endured. The gravity in the community changed when she passed. She deserves to be as far, further even, into her life path than I do. She’d have been in the Amazon throwing rocks. Her sister, too. Now with two daughters of my own, it is impossible for me to comprehend their trauma and the depth of their anguish. Her parents’ strength should set the example but not at so dear a cost. I barely had the courage to admit I have some mental health challenges, much less endure what they did.
Bonus Points: We all die, but what we leave behind for others is what lives on. What do you want to leave behind? What would you want to be remembered for? What will people say about you when you are no longer there?