Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stupid smelly happy roses: Why beautiful things shouldn't be wasted

So much has happened in a month:  I celebrated Christmas with my family that now includes my  adorable niece and nephew and of course my fiancé Brian, we rang in 2013 (albeit from the couch with a vicious cold), the Redskins gave us hope and then snatched it away yet again, President Obama began his second term in office, Beyonce lip-synched the National Anthem,  more people freaked out about Beyonce lip synching the National Anthem than could locate Syria on a map, millions have been born, millions have left us, but mostly it has been a month of quietly and sometimes not so quietly missing my friend. 

It's taken me awhile to be able to collect my thoughts enough to write something here, mostly because I've had this overwhelming feeling that whatever I write about will not be enough.  Or that I won't express it correctly.  Or it won't really describe how special she was.    

The day Liz passed, I texted Curtis to tell him to please pass on a message.  I said, "Lizbeth always tells me not to be afraid of new things.  Please tell her not to be afraid now."  He texted me back to tell me that he told her.  When I found out a little while later that she had passed on, I left my little cubicle to go across the street to the beautiful memorial rose garden of the Baptist Church to have  good cry.  It was a gorgeous day in Durham and the roses were still in bloom, and I was angry at them.  I was angry at those happy, smelly little flowers.  I couldn't understand how they could sit there being so pretty and cheerful when the world was currently so ugly.  I sat with my anger and sadness for a few minutes, and then I smiled.  

I thought back a few weeks to a day just as warm and sunny when I was sitting in the rose garden eating my lunch.  A few ladies from the church were there trimming the rose bushes and collecting some of the blooms, and I remember being amazed that it was December and these hearty little plants were still putting out flowers like every day was summer for them.  In the middle of a bite of my salad, I looked up and there was a small boy standing next to me on the granite bench.  He was holding a yellow rose, and looking very shy and not at all sure that he should be talking to me.  He extended the rose and said, "My mom said I should give this to you.  She says it's not nice to let beautiful things go to waste."  

Not to drop a big old cliché here, but Lizbeth was a beautiful thing.  She did things that most of us would be too afraid to do.  She certainly said things that most of us would be too afraid to say.  Her influence on so many was evident at her party last weekend.  Family, friends, co-workers, and students all gathered to celebrate her.  They were there to celebrate her beauty and to be reminded not to let it go to waste.  

I believe that people that leave us live on in us through the ways they have influenced us and how we choose to carry on that influence.  I will always hear her voice telling me not to be afraid to try new things.  I will also always here her voice cursing at idiot drivers, but that's a whole other influence she had on me :).  

I miss my friend.  I will miss her when I run my first marathon in her honor in less than two months.  I will especially miss her at our wedding this September.  But she is with me every time I do something scary or brave or new, no matter how little or huge it is.  She is cheering for me and telling me how special I am and how there is no way I will regret taking a chance.  Even though I didn't always believe her, I always trusted her, and she was never wrong.  She was a beautiful thing, and her kindness and wisdom and love will never go to waste.  

Peace and Love, 


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