A spirit remaining kindred despite physical affliction and emotional duress is a rare thing, meant to be cherished.
Roses: a terribly popular Outkast song I wanted no part of, reverberated on repeat throughout the walls of a foreign SUV.
See Caroline, all the guys would say she’s mighty fine!”
Sarah and Tawny weren’t exactly American Idols. Combined, however, their majority rule made it nearly impossible to alter the soundtrack for the hour long trek to Hershey Med. I was miserable.
I don’t recall the year, maybe the summer of 2004? I don’t remember who all made the trip. Sometimes the details fade, but that doesn’t matter now. You were having a particularly bad episode, and one of our moms offered to drive us forty miles north to your waiting room.
After the tenth consecutive round of that god forsaken song, I made a stand. There. must. be. Rock. Through persuasion methods I wish I could recollect, I convinced the reluctant passengers to give my all rock mix CD a spin. Quite literally a spin, because this was the era of burnt CD’s, not iPods and iPhones.
I was particularly proud of the epic ensemble of rock jams – the likes of which no 14 year old had assembled before. A “get well” gift to you laced with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nazareth, and AC/DC. Only the good stuff. I know for certain”Hells Bells,” was your favorite song, and it drove your dad nuts. Time claims many moments, but that memory I’ll keep – etched into my cerebrum, impervious to the passage of life.
Then, there was Guns N’ Roses. In particular, their cover of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Even more specifically, the version from Guns N’ Roses Live Era album. I wrote the lyrics on the back page of your 2004 Sacred Heart Yearbook. The tune collectively kicked both our asses. In a good way. In the most awesome way. It’s unclear to me if I gave you this CD to borrow or to keep, and if you returned it or I just flat out lost it, but that’s of little importance now.
When we arrived at the hospital, you were chipper. Your voice: hoarse from the mucus accumulated in your respiratory system. Your face: paled and weary from the sleepless nights. Your demeanor, though: chipper. Always chipper. I don’t know what was said. Who said it. I know there were hugs, laughing, hopefully an easing of the burden of this disease for you, but that didn’t matter then.
I wish I would have made time for you, visited you more often, returned your Facebook messages, texted you, burnt a CD for nostalgia’s sake, but I didn’t.
That’s irrelevant now.
Of all the things bearing consequence at this moment, a recognition, understanding, and appreciation of your perseverance is utmost. Then, now, always. Not a defense mechanism, nor a brave face donned prior to battle: you were purely, undeniably, genuinely kindred, and we are better for knowing you.
Rest easy, Amy.