Somewhere around 10 p.m. last night, the reminder of an early morning wake-up call and the sweat-inducing physical labor of moving in a roommate finally pulled my body into some kind of pseudo sleep. That didn’t stop me from waking up every hour, either ripping myself from a horrible dream or waking up crying. I didn’t understand. I don’t understand.
Yesterday, in the middle of a beautiful late July day, I was lounging and surfing the Internet, as I’m sure most of us were. I never expected it to turn into a day of so much sadness and loss for the people I know, and a lot of whom I love, from my little home town. They were gone and they were never coming back, not for any of us.
Unfortunately, none of us are strangers to loss. It’s something we’ve grown up with. I think some of my pals lost more friends in high school than they have since walking across the tiny little stage in that horrifically decorated auditorium of ours. I’ve heard it’s finally got new curtains.
But what hasn’t changed is the pain we feel when these untimely, senseless deaths rock our network, no matter how strained and spread out that network has become. We still feel like we’ve lost a vital chain in our link, no matter how much time has passed.
No one really needs to know the what of the situation. Most of us ask out of our own selfish curiosity, but when it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is them; the girls we lost, their memory, and the people who loved them so much better than the rest of us.
The memory I have is limited. I didn’t know my friend’s sister, but I did know my friend. Friend. Not acquaintance. Someone I genuinely spent time with, someone who, unlike that “acquaintance” term, never brought anger or annoyance to me when I saw her.
We weren’t best friends. We didn’t need to be; she had hers and I had mine, but that didn’t mean we weren’t kind to each other. I can say I always had a genuine smile on my face when I saw her. I really hope she thought the same about me. Not that it matters, because it will never change the fact that I thought she was a delightful person, and no one who is delightful in this crazy world we live in deserves to be ripped out of it. Not like this.
It’s hard to find hope in a time of utter sadness. The tragic loss of two unforgettable girls follows so shortly behind nation-wide tragedy. It’s hard to wonder if there is a point continuing to try, continuing to care about other people for fear of what happens if you do. It’s hard to lose someone you love, and I swear, the pang only increases as your age does.
But we have to go on. We have to keep caring. In fact, we have to care more. If we don’t, we won’t honor their memory. We won’t change the things we can to prevent these tragedies from happening yet again. And changing those things is what we have to do to survive. It won’t be easy, but we’ve got each other.
We have to remember that no matter how far we live from each other or how pissed we have once gotten at each other, or whatever other petty walls we’ve set up to divide us, that we are all from the same place. Love it or hate it, we’re tied together in a way no one else we’ve met since will understand. That connection can be a pain in the ass, but it’s also pretty beautiful. We need it.
We need each other to lean on, to cry into each others shoulders, to hold each others hands, to catch someone in embrace when they feel too weak to stand. We have to have each other’s backs because no one else will, not in the same way. Not in the way we need.
We have to remember to love each other in the same way we love those girls. And damn if we don’t love them so much it hurts.
Rest easy, you sweet ladies.