On the Anniversary of Your Death

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Today is the anniversary of your death. You would have been 28 this year, had you lived. Sometimes I wonder what your life would have been like at this age, if you would have started a career, found a partner, continued your education. But that way lies madness, since you'll never do any of those things, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Poppa, Aunt Stacey, Uncle J.R. and me joined the AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk again this year. Last year our team - named after you - were the 3rd highest fundraising team in the Denver event, and this year it looks like we're on pace to do it again. A testament to your lost light, and to those who grieved with us and for us when you left this world. I don't think I'll ever be emotionally capable of directly helping the AFSP in their work, but I'll continue to walk in your honor for as long as I'm able. It still breaks my heart to think of your silent suffering, and I'd really like to spare other young people and their families from this tragedy.

This year I attended my first Denver Pridefest with a group called "Free Mom Hugs." Aunt Stacey and I stood on a street corner offering hugs to anyone who wanted them, and it seemed like everyone wanted them. I cried a little inside every time I gave a hug, wishing I was there with you.

I'm also volunteering this year with the "Parasol Patrol." This group provides escort and shielding services to LGBTQ+ youth who are attending events in their community. In my mind's eye, I can just see you beside me, in your tutu, holding up your umbrella so the kids won't have to see the hateful protesters who think it's their job to tell other people how to live. The social justice warrior in you would not have let that pass, and so I'm trying to emulate your dedication and sense of righteous indignation.

I don't volunteer at the library anymore. The stupidity and douchiness of local politics finally got to me, and I resigned from both Boards. Poppa and I still maintain the naming rights for your memorial garden at the Parker Library, though. As long as we're able, we'll keep that garden in memory of you.

I guess this year I decided that I needed to change the work that I do to honor your life. I'm leaning more toward activities that directly support and defend your community, in a way that I would have defended your life, had I been given the chance. I don't think I was capable, until now. I won't lie and act like it doesn't hurt me to do these things, because it does. But you're worth it, so, so worth it, and I comfort myself with the idea that you would approve of the things I do in your memory. You were always, always a defender of those who could not defend themselves, and I like to think I've taken up a small portion of that burden on your behalf.

I still miss you terribly, so terribly. It's not like the first year, where every hour brought a new torment of grief and pain. But I think of you with love and loss each and every day, wishing beyond hope that you were still here with me, making fun of political hypocrites and geeking out about Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel.

So I'll continue to stand up in your memory, no matter what. You deserve no less. And neither do I.

9 comments:

Skatĉjo said...

It is good that you are doing these things. It makes me very sad why. I am so, so sorry for what happened.

Unknown said...

Thank you. I'm sad, too, but I refuse to let her life pass without impact and meaning.

Shawn Powers said...

I don't really have a comment to leave, I was just so moved by this letter, I couldn't not send my love. Thank you for being awesome.

Jeri said...

Tears.
You have my love and admiration for the tremendous amount of thought and energy you put into just continuing on, step by step, in meaningful and powerful ways.

Random Michelle K said...

I love you.

You are in my thoughts this week especially.

Take extra care of yourself today.

((HUGS))

Mummy Grabill said...

I’m sorry you are here, I wish with all my heart that life were otherwise. I think you are doing amazingly with what the universe has dealt you ... but I can never stop wishing you didn’t have to.

Anne C. said...

Jeri and Aileen have captured my thoughts very well. Thank you for sharing this with us. I don't know that I would be so communicative in your shoes and the world would be the poorer for it. Thank you for all that you do... ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

mom in northern said...

The hole is wide and deep...

quid novum infernum said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, and moved by your work to honor your daughter's memory. TDO and I are looking to see if there is a Parasol Patrol-like organization near us.