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February 16, 2016

You know those times when you get a random, long-distance phone call from a friend who usually texts?  You know how you don’t answer the phone right away because you know it’s something bad and you’re driving and just have a feeling that you probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel?  You know how you just get this feeling that you know exactly what that person is calling about, but it’s just too awful, and so you push those thoughts aside and refuse to acknowledge them, for fear of being right?  You know how you hear the news, the news that you somehow already knew, but don’t believe it could really be true, and so can’t process what’s being said?  You know how the pain just rips through your chest, and you feel like you can’t breathe, and you want to scream, but you don’t, because screaming would make it real?

I’m angry, Leah.  I’m so angry.  You fought so damn hard.  Your friends and your family fought hard beside you.  It was work.  It was work pushing through all of the darkness…but you did it.  You did it and we got to watch you come out the other side.  I’m angry that you don’t get to do everything that we talked about a couple of weeks ago – everything that was going to propel your life into even higher strata of happiness and fulfillment.  I’m angry that you don’t get to watch her grow up.  I’m angry that you don’t get to share his love.  I’m angry that you don’t get to live the life that you worked so hard to create.

I’m hurting too, Leah.  I’m hurting for your family whose lives are now torn apart.  I’m hurting for your community who need to find a way to replace you, while knowing that you are irreplaceable.  I’m hurting for your sister who is now missing her North Star, her guiding light.  I’m hurting for your mother, who has to bear the burden of burying her child.  I’m hurting for your classmates, your colleagues, your friends, who are all trying to figure out how to process all of this.  I’m also hurting for me (I know you’d be proud of me for admitting that).  I’m hurting for the role that you played in my past, but more importantly for the role that you should be playing in my future.

None of this makes any sense.

I’m not ready to eulogize you, Leah. I’m so grateful to those who have, and profoundly envious of the people who have been able to beautifully and eloquently express their grief.  I guess that’s one of those weird things about knowing so many clergy members – we know how to put into words the things that people really need to hear.  But Leah,  I’m not ready to share my memories, not ready to tell people about all of your wonderful qualities.  I’m not ready to laugh about your silly idiosyncrasies.  I’m not ready to pass along the wisdom that you left behind.  It’s not time yet.  I will – you know I will… And I’ll try to not embarrass you too much.

Right now though… No.  Right now you are still here.  I can’t say goodbye just yet.  Right now you are too real, too vibrant, too present in my mind.  You’re not gone yet.  I know that you will be soon.  I hate that you will be soon, but I know it.  Then I will reflect.  Then I will remember.  Right now I will keep talking to you.  Right now I will tell you that you’re still wearing too much glitter… And right now I’ll hear you tell me that I’m not wearing enough.


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