I want to say today is a hard day, but that’s too simple; too neat and tidy. Human emotions are never simple, neat or tidy.
Whenever I was feeling down or upset as a kid, my mom always pointed out that somebody had it worse than I did. Of course she was right, but it used to bug me all the same.
Today I’m telling myself those words.
Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of a woman who meant so much to me, but also to so many others.
One year ago, I watched the family, friends and colleagues of my mentor and friend offer her the canonization she so truly deserves; she was goodness personified.
Yet I have also watched her family and close friends move through their lives this past year in efforts to find their rhythm without her. I am so thankful they shared snippets with those of us wondering how their journey was going with her missing. She was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, dear friend, loved and respected colleague and she excelled in every one of those roles from what I knew of her myself and what I’ve read about her since her passing. I didn’t have that level of intimacy with her, yet she often made me feel I did with her special talent of providing an aura of comfort around her. We touched base regularly – texts, emails and a lunch every couple of months. We spent a BlissDom social media conference being each other’s wing-woman as we supported our shared social anxiety and fear of walking into a crowded room alone. She was my professional mentor and without her, I would never have had the courage to pursue publication of my writing. She pushed me, guided me, taught me, cajoled me, reined in my impatience, lifted up my words to their best version as my editor and as we interacted over time, she graced me with the honour of her friendship. She focusing on the good in most people and rarely spoke negatively of anyone. She made me feel smart, witty, fun and talented. I only hope I reciprocated even a smidge of what she gave me.
I miss her.
Yet I feel almost greedy in saying those words; undeserving of the emotions attached to them, because if I feel this way, I can’t imagine how those closest to her must feel. They had what I had times one hundred. She was an integral part of their lives and her absence from their lives must have gaped for the past year, like a door accidentally left open on a windy November day, blowing a chill through an otherwise warm and cozy home. I can only hope each of her dearest loved ones have found some way to cope, to live and to find peace for themselves in a life without her.
Tonight I will attend a memorial for her; a gathering of family, friends and colleagues that no doubt will be very emotional with both fond memories of her and deep sorrow in missing her. I wonder how I will be able to keep my shit together and prevent my ugly-cry, but I am trying to stay grounded and positive by constantly thinking of her watching us at the gathering, smiling and giggling her trademark laugh while saying in her sweet, soft voice “All this just for ME?” because she was so very modest in her knowledge of the unwrap-able and immeasurable gifts she bestowed on others.
Today I am sad, but also incredibly appreciative of the sheer fortune I found in meeting her and knowing her the way I did. She wasn’t in my life for a long time; she will be in my heart and soul forever.
I hope you are resting in sweet peace, Tracy. I miss you. I hope I’ve given you an added giggle today when you see that I’ve actually managed to keep this post under 700 words without you; my loving tribute to your stellar editorial lessons.