Toward the end of graduate school, sleep is often a distant thing. Rest? Actual restful sleep? Forget about it. The other night I said something like this to Corey: Can you think of anything in the world that could possibly be more fun than going to sleep? He laughed at me and said, in this order, "Eating beef jerky, riding my bike, being awake." Then he told me that in order of funness, starting with the most fun, he'd reverse that order. Being awake would top the list.
I thought about that conversation a lot this week as I struggled to cope with the fact that one of my co-workers/fellow grad students/friends lost her life. She no longer gets to be awake or ride her bike. She was a vegetarian, so she would never have thought to eat beef jerkey.
All week I've felt heavy and sad for the loss of this person, only 26 years old. She poured her soul into improving the lives of the student athletes we worked with. She gave everything to them and they reciprocated. I loved watching it happen.
Although I didn't know her too, too well outside of work--a few bike rides here, a dance night there, sometimes a baseball game--I know how she loved living things. I know how she would rather explode than see someone print a document one-sided. I know I never look at a lunch box without thinking of her sadness that our consumerist culture has a need for such things as lunch boxes. And I know that she liked nothing more in the world than to submerge herself in water surrounded by nature, trees, flowers, plants, the heavens.
So today I planted lavender. And I thought of her as I did it and I'll think of her each time I water it. I know she had a rough time of things of late and I know she had a long list of things to give the world, and I'll remain sad about her departure. But I also know that she'll be out there when the flowers bloom and with every waft of floral scent, she'll be reminding me to be a more compassionate and loving person. So I thank her for that.