I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
When I was trying to decide how to commemorate Bridget on my blog this year, this quotation immediately came to mind. Last year I talked about how everyone who loved her shared the pain of losing her and that we should do our best to share with others about her life and not about her death.
One of the things I admired most about Bridget was that she wasn’t afraid to feel. Whether it was love for her brother or hatred for bitches on the soccer field, Bridget never shied away from wearing her heart on her sleeve – and it was something I really respected about her.
When I talk to other people about what it’s been like to lose her, the feelings come rushing back. I remember picking up my phone to hear Sarah Gaylord (now Collyer’s) voice on the other end of the line saying “Bridget was in an accident – she’s gone.” I essentially blacked out and kept repeating, “What do you mean, WHAT do you mean?”
I ran outside of the newspaper office on the Fisher campus, sat on the sidewalk, and lost it. I absolutely lost it.
The striking pain I felt that day is something that will always stay with me. It was the first time I lost someone and really understood what it meant. And it killed me to know that I had passed up an opportunity to see her only three days prior.
So many of us (myslef included) spend our lives trying to stifle our feelings. We get embarrassed if we cry in public, we hold back punches (okay, so maybe that isn’t such a bad thing), but the worst thing we do is we rarely tell anyone how they make us feel.
Bridget brought a lot of joy into my life. I was constantly in awe of her energy, her spirit, and her determination. Losing her brought a lot of pain, as it did for so many of us. And while it hurts, I don’t want the pain to stop. It means that she truly meant something to me and that she had an impact on my life.
Today, and moving forward, I want to allow myself to feel. And I have Bridget to thank for that.