May 14, 2009

The Choice

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:54 pm by jlp412

One of the recurring thoughts that cycles through my mind with relentless stamina is that of a choice none of us ever were given: whether, if we were told of Trisha before we met her, told of the colors she would splash into the days we knew her and then of the sorrow she would slash through us when she left, we would still choose to know her.

I’ve written before that it’s better not to have been given the choice, because it allowed us to have Trisha as our own when she was here, without the ticking seconds of the click counting down her days. But 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 been touched by Trisha, even as we crash into each other from the weight of her loss. He also writes of the new choices he makes now because of Trisha’s life and her death. His words, pasted below, help me see the choices Trisha pushes me to make every day, whether from her life or her death I don’t know.

What I do know is her death split open the skin of all of us with a jagged nail and left us exposed and bleeding and torn. But it also forced us to find the needle and thread to sew ourselves and each other back up again. And the scars that remain on all of us brand us somehow into this strange, melded clump of survivors of Trisha. And as the scars heal, they remind us of the choice Mike writes about below – the choice to open ourselves up to the wounds by loving and missing Trisha, the choice to scream in pain as they cut into us and the choice to try and sew them shut. The choice to live the rest of our lives with the raised-up ridges of our battle scars, a defiant emblem of the journey that binds us forever to each other. The choice to have been touched by Trisha.

Mike’s words are as follows:

Picture yourself in this situation:

You are approached by God, or whoever, or whatever, before you are born to plan out your life. You are told about all the things you will have the chance to do, all the opportunities that will be afforded to you, knowing that the ultimate outcome is based upon your agency and choice on each decision. After everything is planned and you are satisfied with the results and the direction you will head, you have one more choice.

You are told of a person, Trisha. You are told that you will meet her in college, a time when you are changing the most and evolving into the person you will be for the rest of your life. You are told that this person will have an impact so strong and immediate that she will stand out over most people you have ever met. You are told this person will end up becoming one of your closest friends. You are told of all the amazing times you will have with her and all the incredible things she will do. Then, you are told she will be suddenly and tragically taken from you. You are told that that how close you have become with her will make this loss the saddest, most painful, piercing, and lasting emotion you have ever felt. You are told of the numbness you will initially feel, the shock, the disbelief, the anger, and all other rational and irrational feelings that could possibly come from her loss. You are told that occasionally, even in the happiest times after her loss, fleeting thoughts of her will occasionally pop in to your head and you will experience that sadness again, and that for a while, every time the phone rings, you will be afraid to answer.

After all the conditions are explained to you, you are given a choice.

You can either meet this person and experience a friendship so memorable and profound that the loss of it will make you more sad than you can imagine, or, you can choose not to meet her, and avoid that feeling all together. You choose the former. And that’s where we are today. It’s where we’ve been for the past six weeks. I think about small decisions in my life more than I did before. 5k vs. Half Marathon. I chose the latter. Despite the overwhelming doubt I had when making this choice, I decided to push myself. To try and make something good out of it. Go out vs. Stay in: I try to go out because I don’t know what memorable event or little moment I may miss that otherwise would stick with me as a good memory.

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