I haven't quite processed this week, it has been one wave of emotion crashing into the next in an endless tsunami. I am waiting for some respite but it hasn't happened yet and some illogical part of me fears that it never will. The platitudes of taking things "one step at a time" and the well-intentioned but shallow level supportive rah-rah from the sidelines urging me forward only serve to dredge any motivation with a saccharine soak of resentment. I feel the urge to scream "how do you KNOW it will be fine? How do you KNOW I will make it through this?" because there is nothing guaranteed in this life.
On Sunday I got a phone call. The kind of phone call that blindsides you because there is no bracing for news like this. Erin said it best so I hope she doesn't mind me piggybacking the words I can't find
Is there a catharsis after death? Maybe someday. For today, I am grieving.
My student was lovely--gregarious, larger than life, shatteringly beautiful with the best legs I shouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing, in such short skirts and such high stilettos, in a high school setting. She had verve and charm, panache. She was also desperate for love and acceptance, fought against intolerance and ignorance and stood tall despite not wanting to be known solely as a transgendered advocate, though she inherently was. She helped people see her, not as a transwoman, but beyond labels, beyond stereotypes, beyond fear, beyond curiosity, to the heart of humanity.
Our moments together were short, poignant, quietly powerful. And while I could encourage her, sit with her through those moments that she would tell me about her hopes, her dreams, her plans for someday, I didn't have enough traction in our small relationship that allowed me any more than the fleeting weekly glimpses. But, oh, I remember those moments, those precious moments, the simple ones of pressing buttons for Pink Shirt Day, the tender cutting up of ribbons for the Day of Purple, the excruciating moments of sitting silently shaken during the seemingly endless roll of names in the video for the Trans Day of Remembrance. Those moments will stay with me, pressing me to lean into the hard but necessary conversations for our #LGBTQ2 community, to stand as a staunch and determined ally, to stay silent no more. It is the least I can do in her memory, for everyone who fears being who they are, for the sake of our collective humanity.
Hug your loved ones, if this week has shown us anything at all, it shows us that tomorrow isn't guaranteed to any of us, and that the only way through this darkness is "love is love is love is love"
Rest easy, love, and God be with you til we meet again.