Becky taught me a lot in the short time I knew her. She was a proper young lady that, while I was playing in the sand and making mud pies with her little brother, she would sit on the swingset and watch so as to not get dirty. But every once in a while, she would join us in our games of "Hotel" (our verion of running an imaginary hotel in the most perfectly formed set of pine trees), "Father Bigfoot" (our play on Smurfs where we had to stay away from the evil character chasing us) and "Save the World" (a game one summer we created to keep eachother safe... when one of us needed help, the others came to the rescue with their own unique powers. Mine was a magic wand that gave people energy and it was fueled by our long driveway that served as a fantastic "river of strength"). She knew she wanted to be a dancer when she grew up and I envied her ability to dance and that she already knew what she wanted to be. We learned how to troubleshoot arguments... and found forgiveness was the most powerful moment... even for young girls such as ourselves. Beyond that, she taught me how to let go and heal.
There are those moments you look back on and you can remember the sounds of the TV and the feel of the blankets covering you like it was just yesterday. I was in my parents water bed alone watching TV most of the afternoon as Becky was off to camp cross-country skiing for the weekend. I watched Rainbow Brite, Punky Brewster, and Fame. The preview of the news after Fame was over said a 9 year old girl had died. I remember thinking to myself "I wonder if I know her?" I waited to hear the news story out of curiosity... and once I heard her name, I hid under the covers and plugged my ears so hard, I can still remember the pain. Everyone said I was so strong-such an adult young lady. I barely cried and was back in school days after it happened.
I never thought I would find any silver lining, nor did I think this story had a place in this blog. I don't like to think things happen for a reason every time (what the hell reason would there be to let a 9 year old die?), but I do think that she has stayed with me these past nearly 24 years and the lessons and coping skills I gained with her help gives me some solace as to why it happened. If her death shaped me into who I am today... I imagine she affected every person she touched in their own way.
My journey today to have a child has been a challenge and I won't lie-it has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion, but I think I am strong because of my past. She has helped me learn to cope and take nothing for granted, especially those around us. She came into my mind today during my two week wait for a reason. I believe she is still doing her part to stay alive with me... and I thank her for that...