I tiptoe ‘round this post like the exhausted mother of an at long-last sleeping baby. Afraid to wake what lies before me…fearful I won’t be able to give what it needs.
Death, after all, is a needy subject. Never far away. Never a maybe. Never forgotten. And somehow, it still manages to leave us reeling. To rip us out of that place where we believed we were safe. Sometimes with nothing more than what seems a moment’s notice.
I lost a friend on Saturday. It was someone I hadn’t seen since high school. Someone who, before the last seven years, I’d only thought of maybe a handful of times. But, because of present day oddities, we were somehow very connected. Through social media, such as facebook, we were, what classifies as friends, before she passed.
We’d sent each other several private messages upon our initial encounter, reminiscing about our high school days and catching up on what was, at the time, our current lives. She told me that she was the happiest she’d ever been, having overcome some tough times and being in love with, what she deemed was, “…the best guy that ever walked this earth.”
And admittedly, that’s probably where it would have ended for us. Much like many, we both had hundreds of facebook “friends” and the extent of our relationship would have existed on the wings of a fluttering like or comment here and there.
Except Gina turned out to be one of the most positive posters I’d ever come across. Everything she wrote happened to be the silver lining in a grey cloud, should you find yourself fogged in. Her energy was addictive and I’d roll over and rub my eyes just to start the day with her perspective.
This didn’t change when she was diagnosed with brain cancer on June 1st, 2012.
She was generous enough to share what was the privacy of her fight with people – many I’m sure like me – not even a part of her inner circle. Her positivity not only continued, but was bolstered by an exasperating battle and her commitment, not to simply beat the disease, but to remain optimistic and inspirational to all those around her, never faltered.
As I mentioned, I’m on tiptoes, terrified not to do justice to the power of death. To fail to give proper credit to Gina and what she so selflessly sacrificed so that we could learn.
There’s certain valor in accepting what eventually becomes an inevitable destination, but the real courage lies in how you walk the road. True wisdom is knowing you’ve trudged long enough, but the maturity to say good-bye is the bravest thing of all.
March 26th, 1970 ~ February 1st, 2014