Yesterday was the anniversary of the night when Vince called me from Micronesia. I knew what he was calling for before I even answered the phone. Teej was gone. Suicide. In some areas of the world suicide, or attempted suicide, is still a crime. I wonder how and why you'd punish a crime that is born from despair. Our world and our inability to face existential realities are dumbfounding. I think that is that hardest part about losing Teej: Suicide comes from deep deep despair. Despair is a place with no light. A place so dark, one would rather close their eyes forever than bear the weight of that darkness. So you close your eyes. She was in so much despair. Her life, though, is markedly different. There was also so much hope and love.
I still can't clearly say how the loss of my dearest friend is shaping my life. It is hard to say with any loss, really. What I do know is I continue to live and honor her in how I live. I carry her with me. My child bears her name. Her drawing marks my body. The love she infused into my life cannot and will not be taken away. Suicide can do many things, but it can't shatter love. I am working to move from allowing the loss of her life be the definition and into embracing who she was during the time I had her. She belonged to all of us, but most of all to Africa and words. I'll go there one day there and I will write.