Sunday, November 8, 2009

a year is such a long time, a day is such a gift

It's been almost a year since I wished that I had said something to your face. I don't know what I would have said, perhaps rather I wanted to see into your eyes and hold your hand. The silence has been strange, but it has strengthened my understanding. I didn't say then what could have filled in for the years since that one time when you "baby sat" me. I was too young to stay in a house all alone, but I remember thinking you were pretty cool when you would drop me off at school.

I've grown up so much over the years, and now I can only imagine what it would've been like if we could have been friends. I missed my chance to say something meaningful to you last December. I knew you weren't feeling well, but you left the party too soon, even to tell me yourself that you liked my hair. I heard it from someone else, and I hope they told you along the way that over these past ten months I, too, wanted to reconnect with you.

Since middle school I have learned a lot about life, and with that, I thought I might know a little something about death. But I didn't want to tell you anything about that--I wanted to listen, to get to know you. Our short texts filled in those spaces enough for you to remind me to enjoy every day. I sent emails to you, and sometimes you wouldn't respond--this time I don't know if you even got the one asking you to keep the secret that I am coming home in a few weeks and that I wanted to see you. I signed with, "talk to you soon!" I wanted a day for us to finally talk face to face.

I know I was thinking of you at the moment when you passed away. I took a day trip, gathered some friends, said, "Yeah, I have papers to write, but I'm living my life today!" and I went to Harrisburg to smile and laugh while watching ellis sing. You previously had her quote under the picture of your own smiling face: "What if loving what you have is everything?" But then I noticed just two days ago, when I wrote to let you know that I was coming home, that you had changed that quote to say: "Sometimes we don't know exactly why things happen, or don't happen...just embrace the unexpected details and be thankful for the amazing things we do have...while we have them."

Did you already know?

On this day when I intentionally set out to enjoy the fact that I am alive, I thought of you and carried your spirit along with me. My smiles with ellis's songs turned into tears when she sang about words that you would have said: "Don't let a day go by without a love in your life....I am one spoke in a wheel, one leaf in the tree. I will fall when my time comes, and the snow will cover me." Minutes after the music was over I checked my phone and learned that I had missed my chance to say goodbye. We were months, years too late; this day came weeks too soon. I cried tears into the Susquehanna River--it carried them to some other place.

In the silence over the year, the missed moments to fully communicate, you've been a true friend. I hope you knew all of the things that I never got to say. You have taught me about life, even through your death: May we always approach both with such beauty and grace.

You have been a wonderful gift, Hannah, and you will truly be missed.

Hannah: July 6, 1981-November 8, 2009.

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