Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Celeste and Elma

Ten years ago, September 19, 1996, my friend Celeste was riding in the backseat of car when she was instantly killed in a collision with another vehicle. Celeste was sixteen, I was seventeen years old.

It's strange that today, on her ten year anniversary, a day I have been thinking about and anticipating for several months, I found myself at a funeral. My co-worker's mother died of cancer on Saturday and after 90 years of life, she died peacefully in her sleep.

On a beautifully crisp near Autumn day, I remember. Death and bereavement are bottomless topics, there is so much to think about and consider. Celeste's death, on so many levels, overwhelms me. The questions pertaining to the purpose of life, why now, why her, why in this way, and what for cannot be contained. They are too massive. Spiraling into different spheres of conversation, these questions always prompt people to think about the inconceivable and the inevitable: one day we ourselves will perish.

On top of these monstrous thoughts, there is a certain level of emotional assault that comes with witnessing the death of a young friend. There is a shattering of the sense of world and life order. What I previously thought of about life is no longer. I am not invincible, nor was she. Oftentimes, surviving a tragedy is a tragedy all of its own. Days after Celeste died, I was in her home, walking slowly through her house with her family. To this day, I cannot think of those moments without hurting. The heaviness of that time, the saturation of death was too much. Never in my life had I seen faces like that of her family members. No words can describe the depth of emotion that was so powerful, it must remain unnamed. It's beyond sorrow, shock, grief, depression, and longing. It was even beyond love.

Celeste was the girl in highschool who was born with a beauty and kindness that you wanted to envy, but you were enveloped in her spirit that you wanted nothing more than to call her your friend. I once thought of her, "She made envy a superfluous emotion." You never were envious, she always made you feel good about yourself. She made you feel special. That was Celeste Falvo.

I tried to be present to Elma Silliman's funeral. I prayed at her open casket and followed the hearst, but in the back of my mind, I charged at G*d again, "Why did she get to live 74 more years of life than Celeste? Why did Elma live to ninety and Celeste only sixteen?" But, in those moments of painful mystery, I am answered with the same quietness: a deep blue sky, spilling yellow sunshine, and an autumn breeze to cool the anger inside.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey there,
Before you leave a comment, just remember two things:
1. You are taking responsibility for a public comment
2. Anything that resembles racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, or anything based from religion, citizenship, or ethnic bias - don't bother commenting, you'll be deleted.