My friend E is dead. She died yesterday and she was only 34 years old. I can’t even begin to process the fact that she leaves behind a 4-yr-old and a newborn born barely 48 hours before her death, let alone the anger that it might have been completely preventable. I’m still in the denial/sobbing uncontrollably/denial/numb cycle of grief. The smash things stage will come soon enough.
There are so many stories I could tell about E, there a million racing through my head every minute. She was there almost every day of my life for more than a decade. She was there when I finished my first half marathon, running with a stroller beside me, shouting at me to finish strong. She was there beside me drinking beer and laughing when we took our annual “team building” pilgrimage to Brewfest, year after year. She was laughing especially hard the year I couldn’t jump high enough to get on the mechanical bull and needed the ride operator to hoist me up, only to fall off two seconds later. She was there to hug me when my grandmother died and there to offer me help when I slid into a prolonged period of grief after. She was the one that encouraged me to start this blog and it was in her car that I first talked about writing again somehow, first uttered the words Sleeping on the Diagonal. I can’t tell any more stories right now because I’m so tired of crying today. It’s all hollow. Instead, I just wanted to share what I posted on her condolence page. I just want to fling into the world how beautiful she was.
I used to tease E about her days as Head Cheerleader in high school. Partially it was to egg her on to see if she could still kick her leg over her head, but mostly it was because she embodied the true spirit of cheerleading; the spirit of loving, encouraging, and applauding her team. And to E, everyone was on her team.
She radiated warmth and kindness. She was unfailingly upbeat with an infectious, wide smile and a genuine laugh that boomed from the very core of her. Even if she was muttering curse words under her breath, she was doing it with a smile. I wanted her to tell stories just to see if her animated arms would knock over anything.
The cynic in me never believed a person could be so perky and optimistic without it becoming grating. Until I met E. She was sunshine incarnate. When she moved to Sunnyside Road, I teased her again because there wasn’t a more fitting place for a ray of sunshine to live.
If you are lucky in life you get to meet a few genuinely good people that you can call friend. E was the best person I’ve ever met and I was so incredibly lucky to know her as my friend. She was the best of humanity all wrapped up in one soul, her light so bright it burst out in her smile. Our world is darker in her absence.