I lost a friend today. She wasn’t really MY friend as we only hung out together a couple of times a few years ago. We talked a couple of times since then, and I always felt some kind of kinship to her. While I wasn’t close to her myself, she was very special to some people who are very special to me. They are taking this hard.
Like many will, I learned of her passing through Facebook as dozens of fellow students, coworkers, and friends posted their condolences to the family and promised her they would meet again. Only a few days ago she was excited about a date she’d been on with someone new, showing off her new haircut, and celebrating her birthday. This seems so out of the blue. So unexpected. But I guess it’s always unexpected.
Several days ago, one of her Tweets made my heart twinge. Without any specific words, she said she was struggling. Looking at some posts further back, I decided she was probably on the mend from personal tragedies neither I nor the general public was aware of. Friends close enough to do so replied their encouragement to that post. I didn’t reply but sent her a hug in my own way. Tonight I wonder if I should have spoken.
I don’t think the odd numbness and pain that I feel right now is for myself. Instead I’m feeling for those who loved her and knew her better than I did. I feel for her mother and cannot imagine losing my own child in such an awful way. Or in any way. I feel for her dad, knowing daughters are a very special thing for fathers. I feel for her brothers who had to travel half the globe to be able to say their goodbyes before the machines supporting her life would be turned off, allowing her body to finally rest as her spirit is now at rest.
My heart goes out to her friend from last week, and I hope that neither that person nor anyone in her circle feels guilt or blame for what happened. It goes out to fellow musicians who will never make music with her again, and to admirers like me who will never hear it. And to friends who have known her only weeks and friends who have known her their whole lives. It goes out to patients, children, and their parents who didn’t even speak her language but were touched by her in ways no words can express anyway.
My compassion is for medical personnel, clergy, emergency response technicians, and funeral workers who must be strong every day for families they’ve never met and will likely never meet again. How much more difficult it must be when the life they were unable to save belonged to someone so young, so talented, and so completely unaware of how much they mattered.
I sympathize with so many others in her life who will not rest for many days or even years after this tragic loss of a loved one. I am thankful for the few minutes that I knew this troubled young woman whose passion for healing inspired people all over the world to smile when there was nothing to smile about.