Of course when you move across the world, your biggest fear is that someone you love and care about will pass out of this life and into the next.  Death is a wretched, horrible thing; I will be the first to admit that I have issues with it.  I know everyone does, but I have a seriously hard time finding appropriate, helpful coping mechanisms.  I think an extra burden is that any death brings me back to my dad’s, and that may be a wound I never heal from.  Such is life.

I lost one of my dearest high school friends this week.  I have felt very badly in the last year that I didn’t try harder to maintain relationships from high school.  The truth is that I care very deeply for many of my classmates; I just suck at staying in touch.  Meggie was one of about five classmates who I actually maintained sporadic and yet continued correspondence with over the last six years.  We visited each other throughout college, and needless to say (needless to anyone who knows her), I’ve been holding her in higher and higher regard with the passing of time.

She was friendly, funny, thoughtful, kind, generous, helpful, beautiful, enviable, humble, artistic (exceptionally – she has in fact become a well known artist in the region, and possibly the country, although my knowledge of such things is limited), and inspiring.  I know how when people die, they get put on pedestals, but the truth, straight through, is that I’ve had her on a pedestal almost since I got to know her in middle school.  I think anyone who knew her probably did to some degree or another.  For all her amazing qualities and attributes, she was humble and modest and at times even seemed shy to acknowledge compliments.  But she was dearly loved; I believe she knew that, especially in the last few months.

The selfish part of this blog starts now: it is so hard for me to deal with this loss here in Korea.  The painful possibility of losing a friend while I’m working over here happened far sooner than I expected; I’d in fact hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with it at all.  I cannot go home, I cannot do much to help my class, I cannot drive directly to Akron, camp out with my friends, gather our amazing resources, and find any comfort.  I cannot comfort her family, or look them in the eyes and through tears tell them how much I cared for their daughter, tell them she pushed me all through high school and even through college to try hard, honestly and earnestly follow your dreams and talents, and find ways to make others’ lives better.  She in fact went to Africa before I did, and that in itself should explain a lot about why I liked her so much.  I can do none of it.  I have to go on with life like I’m not in pain, I find myself forcing my mind to snap out of it while I’m teaching in front of my classes, I have to think about other things so I don’t start crying, because it would be far too difficult to explain why.

Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes it is so painful you wonder what the point is of any of this.  My pain is but a fraction of what her closer friends and family are feeling right now; I just hope they know how much I wish I were there to say goodbye, too.