Monday, July 29, 2013

To Not Fade Away

I think I read somewhere once that you're not truly a writer unless you give yourself fully to the craft.  You give your emotions, your memories, and your heart to the words that you produce on the paper.  In a way, I've been struggling with how to write this or even if I should write this over the last month.  In a way, it almost seems appropriate to let these feelings and words flow out.  If someone can read it and gain something, then Lord knows what things can happen with it.  Here it goes:

One of my best friends passed away a month and a week ago from today.  Today would've been her 24th birthday.  When you get into college, they tell you on your first day that you're going to meet the friends that will last forever and change your lives.  In the occasion that that advice actually does pan out, it's an amazing feeling.
Jumping at Paradise Cove, Hawaii (courtesy of my friend Jenn)
My girl was an inspiration.  She was a friend, a traveler, a sister, a maverick, a sounding board, a singer, a dancer, a purveyor of ridiculous times to be had, and quite possibly one of the loveliest and most sincere individuals you will ever meet in a lifetime.  It was impossible not to like her.  The funny thing is, no matter who you were (even if you were a complete stranger), you'd fall in love with her.  
At her memorial at Georgia Tech
We met 3 years ago in a Financial Engineering class in junior year of college.  It's almost ridiculous to think you could grow so close to a person in a comparatively small amount of time.  From late night study sessions to trips to the local brewery, our friendship grew more as we entered the adult world.  Yes, we and many of our other friends didn't get to see each other much, but when we did, it felt like pieces of a puzzle coming together.  It just fit.

When you graduate, you make promises to friends that you'll keep in touch and see each other often.  I think in reality, it doesn't happen that often.  On the other hand, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing our girl 4 times last year.  With friends or with just each other, we went to Washington D.C., New York City, Boston and Honolulu together.  In Boston, we had brunch together on Charles St (as now remembered in a probably terribly written blog post), and talked about our plans for the future.  She had been living in Hawaii for almost a half year at that point, and shared the amazing goals she had for the next two years.  With those goals, she possessed such a clear vision of how she wanted to help people through her work and inspire passion amongst the 20-somethings of our generation by finding what their own right paths.  In looking back at that moment, I see now how much vitality she always possessed just in that very moment, and what vigor she had to reach those goals.
At her memorial at Georgia Tech
If I could freeze one memory now, it would be the 2nd morning of our visit to her place in Hawaii.  She had woken up early and gone outside, while a friend and I were chatting in a sinking air mattress on her living room floor.  Just the face, the laugh, the smile, the shriek of glee coming out of her as she jumped in on some girl time with us, encapsulated our friendship -- pure joy.  To say the least, she will be missed and remembered for a long time.

If you've managed to get this far in reading this post and feel it compelled in your heart to give back, her friends and family have set up a scholarship in her name here.  In the box that says "in memory of", please type in "Liz Tarpey."  Additionally, in the comment box, please write "This gift is for the Gamma Eta Scholarship Fund and is made in memory of Liz Tarpey."  

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading.  :)

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