for the past 2 years I’ve been sending emails to a dear high school friend. i’d seen her a few summers ago when I visited my family and we vowed to keep up with each other’s lives once we went back to our necks of the world.
i discovered that year that she, this child prodigy, who had awed me during high school with the ease with which she ‘figured out’ everything from math to biology to spanish to geography. her quiet, unassuming energy had no bounds. her smile had no geography. she was a beautiful person whom i’d had the good fortune to know then reknow during my recent summer visits back home.
omela had taken many years off her career to care for her two young children then went back into the workforce when they were a bit older. she rapidly became CEO of a huge financial company, and was doing well indeed. i came back to my foreign home, she stayed in hers, and i wrote her many emails, sent pictures we took during her visit to my brother’s place where i spent many languorous hours watching the sun set and moon come up, faraway from this the whole stress machine rat-race of USA!
last night, i saw some mutual friends at a reunion, who told me she died a year or so ago. no one seemed to have known much about it. the calm image of her smiling face and news of her death went to bed with me.
i woke up this morning with a terrible weight; a similar weight i felt when my own father died. when he died, i literally shut down, quit school, stayed on the couch sobbing for days on end in a foreign land, far from the family or what used to be home for me. a place where i wanted to be, but couldn’t be.
omela was young, kind, always smiling, pleasant, shy yet highly competent and always lent a helping hand.
i cannot imagine her ‘no more’; i cannot stop seeing her shy smiling face with her quizzical laughter, half a laugh and half a serious tone.
and i wonder, if i feel her loss so deeply, what do her children feel and other loved ones in her circle. i couldn’t begin to imagine the grief they must wear and bear since she was perfectly fine the last i saw of her. it must have been some horrid angel of death who came knocking on her ‘too-soon’ door.
i am gripped, not by the horror of her death, but the sorrow. the horrid sorrow of a senseless death!