I got the call Sunday night from Emma. She was sobbing so hard I couldn’t understand her. Finally she gasped and said you had died. Thank God the sofa was behind me, it softened my fall. The next thing I remember I was starting to pack, your service is on Tuesday. I sat staring at my closet and tried to figure out what to wear to say good-bye to you; a 24 year old who was still a young, dirt-clot throwing, mayonnaise loving little girl, in my eyes.
Your teammates sent out the news to each other faster than the speed of light. A collective sense of horror went ripping through their hearts as they tried to get their heads wrapped around what had happened. I’m sure they were asking themselves, could we have done more, should we have done more or just why?
The drive on Monday to Phoenix was dotted with memories of the many trips we took to soccer tournaments in California. You were in every one of the landmarks I passed, the windmills, the dinosaurs and the Subway that saved my wallet. Tears flowed freely and nearly could have ended the drought in California.
So it’s Tuesday and the amount of people at the church would have made you speechless, which for you, one of the most literate people I’ve known would have been a first. The parking lot of the church was overflowing, people walking in from streets nearby.
The church was filled with your family and friends, and then there were your teammates. Some of the girls had just left town after the holidays, but others rescheduled their trips and some left work, as everything seemed secondary to saying a last good-bye to you. The sense of loss that hung in the air was stifling and I’m sure that many of the girls had never experienced this type of sadness before. So many of the parents who cared for you during the soccer seasons also came to say good-bye.
There was a slide show that included pictures of a little KS to the beautiful adult woman you grew into and your favorite music was playing, Patty Griffin, which made it even harder for me to breath as you loved sharing her music with me. As I listened to your Dad speak and watched the slide show I thought about how you must have been feeling. Perhaps in those dark moments when the tunnel vision of despair surrounded you, it was impossible for you to know. To know just how many lives you touched and changed just by being such a special type of person. You left us all a little more enlightened.
You may not know the ripples that were caused by your last breath, the closing of your eyes or the absence of your spirit, but I could see the effect of it in the eyes of every person who was seated in that church. How they wished they could have helped you someway, somehow, and to let you know how valuable you were.
I know some believe that taking your own life was an act of cowardice, but I disagree. I believe you had a form of blindness. A form that kept you from seeing beyond the despair, that kept you from seeing that there was hope, that there were family and friends to help and that there was a spot in the universe created just for you. And now we need to wait to have that void filled. After the puffy eyes have gone down, and the hurt in our hearts heal a bit we’ll be able to fill that space with the memories of your laughter, your wisecracks, your loquacious vocabulary and that smile that melted our hearts.
So please give my puppies a pet, enjoy talking with your grandma and try not to outwit or talk politics with the Big Guy….He’s actually someone who’d win the debate.
I’m Grateful for having you in mine and my family’s life – even for a sliver of time.