Tragedy has struck my family. I knew the news wasn't going to be good when I saw the email from my mom appear on the screen. "Call me as soon as you can." But I never imagined I would hear the unthinkable when she picked up the phone. My sister-in-law, my brother's wife, my friend, has taken her own life. I've spent the past week battling a range of emotions. Any attempt at describing them will be a feeble representation of what I wish were not reality. Let's just say I've been struggling with sadness, confusion, grief, anger and a dizzying array of questions that all begin with WHY? Few of them will ever get any answers. She'd been happily married for twenty six years, was a keen outdoors-woman, an animal lover, an avid traveler and an all-around lovely, adventurous and interesting person. No one suspected a thing. She gave no indications of any troubles and the notes left not a single clue.
I've been thinking all week that perhaps writing something would help me explore the anger and the multitude of swirling questions. Yet when I finally found the first words, they got me out of bed and they came out as gentle and reflective. For this I am grateful. They were displayed at the memorial service and I share them here as a tribute.
I adored Bec from the moment I met her. At least that's how I remember it now, some twenty seven years later. Like any good girlfriend, she went out of her way to win the heart of her fiance's kid sister. And it didn't take long for her to have made a little friend for life.
Bec made a point of making any outings with her into special occasions. Whether it was a trip to the fair, an adventure to Disney World or our very memorable just-the-two-of-us-car-camping-in-a-Mustang week in Alaska, she always made the experience meaningful and fun.
When I was in elementary school, I remember being asked to write a paragraph about someone I admired. I wrote about Bec. I don't think I ever mentioned this to her but I remember writing that I admired her because she was kind, strong, confident, independent and not about to let anyone walk all over her. These are important lessons for a young girl and I thought of these traits often as I went about finding my way in the world.
But none of us can be strong and optimistic all of the time. And so we find ourselves mourning an unthinkable tragedy. But let's do something positive in the midst of it all. Let us remember to always lift one another up with our words and deeds, to lend a helping hand whenever possible and to treat all those we meet with compassion and love. Just as Bec would have done.
March 10, 2011