It's been a year
Yesterday was a year, and tomorrow it will be a year since the deaths of my high school friend Linda, and my grandfather, respectively. Instead of being sad today, I am trying to be as positive as possible.
Instead of continually questioning why Linda was killed, I am going to take a break from that today. At her memorial service at Johns Hopkins, one of her friends said (I am paraphrasing) that instead of questioning why she died, we should question why she lived. The president of Johns Hopkins said that Linda did more in her 21 years than most people do in their lifetimes. Both of the above statements are 100% true. While what happened to Linda will never ever make sense to me, a year after her death, I am able to think of her without being completely sad.
Instead, I remember the difference she made in people's lives. In a fickle high school environment, I never heard one bad word spoken of Linda, but instead people would talk about how great she was. I remember having Ceramics with her senior year when we both needed a fun elective. I would look forward to ceramics, because I would have a chance to talk to Linda, which was always a bright spot to my day. When I was freaking out about getting into colleges, Linda would assure me that everything would be okay, and in a way that I actually believed her. She made it look easy getting straight A's, being on the volleyball and gymnastics teams, and getting a full ride to Johns Hopkins, her first choice. She did all this with her trademark smile and giggle.
So why did she live, and how did she do more in 21 years than many do in a long lifetime?
Simply, anyone that met Linda had to be affected by her. It was hard not to be. She did more than most people by spending part of her summer in college volunteering at a children's AIDS hospice in Vietnam. Her goal after college was med school and to find ways for people in third world countries to have better access to medical care, and I believe that she would have accomplished her goals. I know that she has inspired other people to live their lives more like hers. I was lucky to have known her, and remembering how remarkable she was makes me feel somewhat better about the tragic end to her life.
Thinking about my grandfather's death after a year does not bring me sadness like Linda's. He was almost 84 when he died, and lived a good life. Like Linda, I feel incredibly lucky to have known him and to have been his granddaughter. I miss him so much, but I still feel like he is here because I know how he would react to things. Nothing made him happier than hearing about his grandchildren. I know that he would have been so happy to have seen me graduate college in May, and to have seen me start my "grown-up" life in Boston. And I know that when I would talk to him on the phone to tell him what was going on in my life, he would say with a twinkle in his eye "That's so great, Amy." I miss his hugs, that twinkle, his enthusiasm over everything; simply everything about him.
At my desk at work, I have a picture of me and Linda from high school, and a picture of my grandfather from when I was a kid. By having those pictures facing me all day, in a way, makes me feel as if they are still here.