My body understood even though my mind didn’t. My spirits have been at low ebb the last couple days, but I didn’t know why. Life has been so busy I didn’t realize today was sneaking up on me. I’m not quite sure how it got to be April, let alone May. And now, suddenly, this morning, I see that today is May 13th. It is Anna’s birthday. She would have been 38. It’s almost 20 years since she was killed.
I cut myself last week. A glass broke as I was washing it and slashed the side of my hand at the base of my forefinger. It was the kind of gash that puts you one the fence about whether you should go to urgent care and get it stitched, but I hate to spend the money. The healing is progressing, but slowly.
The power of the body to heal is amazing. The spirit, too, I guess. But next month my hand will be fine, and next month my heart will still ache when I think of her.
Our sorrows recede into the background. We forget about them amidst the new tasks, experiences and relationships that come. But memory is a powerful thing, and sorrow can be jolted back into consciousness by things as simple as a date on the calendar.
So where is this little girl that was such a joy? Where is that scowl when a rolled up sock struck her face during a sock fight? Where is the intense curiosity that would hold my finger and point to pictures in a Richard Scarry book, wanting me to say the different words? Where is the courageous big sister stomping ants to clear a path from the back door for her sister (with louds shouts of “hiyah!”) Where is the little girl who held her sister’s hand on the first day of school? Where is the bright young woman playing the lead in a community theater production of Anne Frank? Where is the young girl who went into a dressing room one summer day as a child and came out as a young woman? Where is the keen mind and gentle spirit that so gracefully silenced the faulty logic of a speaker sent to explain a proposed change in our national church?
Where is the spiritual vision that befriended all people? Where is the compassion that worked in a shelter and gave her school lunch hour to a special needs child? Where is the responsible child who switched drivers every two hours and wore their seat belts and drove the speed limit and planned to spend the night at her friend’s house rather than drive straight through on their trip to New Orleans where they would volunteer in a grade school over spring break?
Her body lies in the ground in a cemetery in Michigan, struck down with her friends by a driver who was not responsible, and by those who bought his drinks and took him to his car.
Her smile, her laughter, her dance, her vision, have been stolen from the world. I can only hope that her memory lives, her kindness lives, her love lives. I hope her memory, kindness, and love lives in us; I know it lives in God.