In graduate school, I had a better half. Her name was Elizabeth (snicker). Elizabeth always had my back when it came to my men, my grades and my temper. She held my hand through tests, career choice, national boards, moving, my first real job. Elizabeth took care of my day to day nonsense and kept me from saying what I really thought to some choice teachers who I would have loved to give a piece of my mind. Picture one small girl frantically trying to leap across a giant room of people to clamp both hands over the mouth of the Tasmanian Devil. There you have a visual of what we were like.
In exchange, I tried to hold Elizabeth’s heart in my hands. I tried to keep her beautiful heart from breaking as she watched her mom’s cancer return, as she watched it take her mom away from her, some days by inches, some days by the speed of light.
It was the most unfair thing I had ever watched happened. I stood on the sidelines and all I could do was try to hold Elizabeth up with whatever gifts I could share.
She called me moments after her mom died, and I asked the question, I’d sworn to myself I wouldn’t ask.
“What do you need?”
Oh, dumbfuck. You know this answer.
“I need my mom!”
Dammit. I knew that answer. I knew it, and I asked the stupid question anyway.
Sara was born 60 years ago today. If she were here, Elizabeth would have a blinding migraine because her dad would have given her carte blanche to plan the Most! Perfect! Birthday! Ever! She would have succeeded. I would have teased her about it. Then I would have shown up to help her clean up after it was over.
Four years later – I still think of you and become a weepy ball of snot when I hear this. Know I don’t forget you, or Sara, even though we’re far apart.
Because of Sara, I live life better than I did before. I’ve seen that it can get short, and not go the way we plan. I stumble in my daily life, but in my overall life, when I see the end of it, I will have lived it better because she lived.