I went to a memorial today.
It was held in a public
park, with flowers and a pavilion, butterflies and cold cuts and (somewhat shockingly
to my Mormon upbringing) a makeshift bar that was more a station for
"OhmygodHOWAREYOUUUUUU?!!!!" than condolences. Earlier that day I had caused a kerfuffle in the apartment with my husband, upending drawer after drawer trying to find the one pair of decent black nylons I own. While the friend who had asked me to come had said the dress was "whatever you wear," I was just not willing to let go of 'propriety' and show up sans nylons. I found the nylons. I wore the nylons, along with the requisite pearl jewelry, tastefully understated makeup.
As it turns out, I could have shown up wearing a sequined-laden rainbow-colored skirt, topless, with butterflies in my hair and ladybug rainboots while I did barrel rolls, and I would have felt less obvious than in a black-and-white dress, black hose, and a cardi.
The woman who died? EPIC.
Like, motherfucking EPIC.
She licked eyeballs. She had a tattoo of a tomato, because she was obsessed with the fruit. She had a tattoo of a rooster, because she loved to say "Would you like to see my cock?" She was part of a roller derby team. She painted a nekkid-lady tie for her brother to wear to the first day of work of his "first official" job. She was funny, she was fabulous, she was dynamic, she was beyond compare, and a woman who defied all definitions and references. This is, now, what I know. I am sure there is more. And it is AWESOME.
I didn't know her. Not at all. I never even made her acquaintance; and believe me, I am the poorer for not having done so.
It makes me wonder; what happened not in, but during, her life? The speakers and poets today referenced struggles and private ghosts. My friend, the one who asked me to go with her today, was unaware. "They kept referencing struggles and dark times," she said, earnestly. "I never knew. NEVER. It just goes to show you."
It does, indeed.
It doesn't require an external force to have those demons creep up on you. Really, you can have a perfectly normal, perfectly suburban childhood/upbringing/life, and it doesn't always add up. There is nothing that anyone who is functioning on a normal level can use to define what happens to someone who is not.
So really, I am happy that this friend-of-a-friend managed to live her life the way it should be lived. I wanted to be so respectful; so wanting to live my life as she did, completely and fully and eyeball-lickingly.
I have a feeling she won't rest in peace. She doesn't want to.
So YOU GO, Edith Stone-Walsh.