"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air."
On my coffee table at home I have three glass coasters, purchased last year from an excellent glassworks on Gabriola Island. One of them bears an illustration of a mermaid in pale blue on a white background, the above Ralph Waldo Emerson quote situated to its right, in typewriter font and the same delicate blue. On and off between floods of tears today, I have been staring at this coaster, numb with the intense pain of grief.
Those words could be one of many ways of summing up the wild and free spirit of one of my dearest friends in this world. The thing is, she was killed in a car crash last night. It would appear from the first information available via news sources that her vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. He fled the scene and was picked up by the RCMP later, subsequently refusing to take a breathalyzer test. I take that as a clear admission of guilt. Details are scant as I type, but I guess the scores of people who adored her, those like us in states of emotional turmoil right now, will discover the full awful story soon enough.
We just LOVED this woman and are completely, utterly, totally devastated by her sudden passing. She was an inspiration with her incredible energy, unswerving optimism, perma-smile and remarkable generosity of spirit. We are proud that she considered us friends and, despite everything today, we are happy that we were amongst those who had the opportunity to bask in the intense bright light of her irrepressible life force.
Life without her in it is at this moment an inconceivable concept, but it will of course go on. For now, on this shocking day, all we can think about beyond the voids created in our personal worlds by the departure of this dear soul, is how on earth her partner of over twenty years must be struggling to come to terms with this. I feel helpless, stranded, unable to reach out to him to give him whatever the hell I can that he might need of me.
This has been one of the toughest days we've experienced since moving to Vancouver Island, and ever. I have cried more today than when I found out my father had died. This beautiful woman, so brutally snatched away from us at just 51, was a living embodiment of everything we hold dear here, and as a result of her death a bit of us dies along with her.