May 10, 2009

We Found Her Still

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:58 pm by jlp412

Tonight, I spent two full hours with a good friend of mine and of Trisha’s, laughing until we cried as we looked over the hundreds of photos we took to chronicle our four years at Northwestern. When I think of our friendships in terms of a lifetime, we haven’t known each other long at all. We weren’t there for the preschool recitals and awkward middle school ascents into adolescence and the prom photo shoots and the first kisses. Instead, we met each other as we balanced on our tiptoes, straining our necks to see the paths laid out before us that awaited our footprints over the next four years. We found each other at the perfect point in the journey – the sand was still soft ahead of us and we had already blazed two decades of trails before we met. We could still be softened and shape-shifted by each other, as we blended our pasts and our presents and prepared for our futures with arms linked, bounding down the path without knowing where it would end or how we would get there.

We came from all over the country – from Seattle to Chicago to New Jersey – and we studied all different disciplines – from theatre to medicine to art history to journalism – and we came from small towns and big cities and private boarding schools and local public high schools and we just seemed to fit. When I think of how specific the circumstances were that led us to each other, I can’t help but think a little push of fate bumped us closer with just enough force for us to take notice.

We planted bits of ourselves in each other those four years, and in reliving each moment of it through videos and pictures tonight, I realized just how much of me is actually pieces of them. We didn’t set out to find each other – and yet we did. Somehow we navigated the course of those four years to travel into each other’s lives and settle there for good.

We found Trisha, who was caught mid-laugh in almost all of the pictures we looked over tonight. We found her even though she left us. We found her even though we won’t get to grow old with her, even though she won’t see the adults we’re struggling to become and how we’ve changed, even though her death ripped a burning hurt through all of us. We found her jumping on a bed in the third floor of A Phi, dancing her Trisha dance to Bruce Springsteen on a random Thursday night, embarking on a freezing cold trek through the snow on campus, reflecting on her favorite rock overlooking Lake Michigan. We found her caught in a candid moment, we found her skin touching ours as we laughed and made goofy faces and concocted random adventures to fill our nights. We found her as we studied too much and slept too little and lived in moments of unknowing.

Somehow, all of us, we needed her. And we found her.

Looking at those pictures makes her death seem so surreal because we see her there, so beautiful and so alive, beaming back at us or collapsed into a laughing fit in a pile of intertwined limbs and sorority sweatshirts, and she is gone while we’re all still here. And there are days, sometimes many times a day, when I question why – why her, why any of us, why now, why this way. What is the lesson, the meaning, the reason, the justice? Why, of all of the creatures roaming around on this planet with paths still left to follow, why was Trisha the one who was shoved suddenly off her course? She was ripped out of our lives before I had a chance to tell her the things I ramble here. And it hurts, every day it hurts because there are some parts of us and parts of her she will never know.

But we found her. And for all of the wondering and the mourning and the clumsy words, I am grateful we did. Because I can’t imagine what my path would look like without her footprints all over it.

None of us knew when we met Trisha and let her slip into our lives that she would die in this way at this time. But we found her still. And even though she’s gone now, we have to keep looking for her, we have to finding her in each other. It’s the best we can do. Even though she left us, we found her still. And what good is the discovery if we let it trickle into the static state of the past tense? So I am going to keep looking, keep searching for her even though sometimes it hurts less not to look. Because we found her and she mattered and she changed us. She was here and with us laughing and with us growing and with us graduating and embarking on a new path to a new place and then she left us and yet we found her still. We found her still.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] a good friend of Trisha’s and of mine, Mike Winograd, recently wrote to me in response to my last blog post. He explores the possibility of this same choice and why we would still choose to have known and […]


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