I have struggled all day for the right remembrance, the right way to take a moment and celebrate a life too quickly over. To find a way to somehow express the profound sense of loss that still finds us — because We are an Us in this situation, if in no others these days — when we least expect it. To think about where she’d be today, who she’d be, and how our lives would be different. Because they would be, wouldn’t they? While I have profound sense of loss to the little world of my friendships, that bubble where we grew up and became Who We Are, I also have a profound sense of the effect her life had and has on ours. And sitting here five years after I first heard those words, “She didn’t make it,” I am still quiet, still slightly numb, still not quite ready to believe that that’s true. Because, you see, she never actually left us. Her memory, in some ways even more powerful than her presence in life, is always there. Sometimes on the periphery, sometimes nudging us when we are together, when we want to share a joke, when we realize that she is the only person who would really understand such a deep hurt, when we are physically but three around the table instead of four. When we catch ourselves lamenting a birthday, because it’s just one more birthday she never had. When we consider the wonder of life’s fleeting folly.
I still don’t know what exactly to say or do. Only to be thankful that I knew her and that we carry her, still.