Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random Law School Update 21

Dear friends and family-

Another speck of light has stopped shining. I stop to wonder for a moment how it is that millions of lights in this world manage to continue on so ambitiously, as if in defiance to the cruelty of the loss of this particularly important one. One small light that, in its absence, seems to outweigh all the others. My heart continues to beat with a stoic appreciation for the gravity of the night's event and I wonder what to do with myself now that my world is shades dimmer. I can't continue on as if before, because nothing seems so urgent anymore. But stopping will only fill me with emptiness. I let myself appreciate that there are sad stories and happy ones. And realize that I am lucky that my life is filled with both types, in abundance. I think about what it means to miss, and wonder whether I can do it joyously. I strive to achieve new levels of strength with each tragedy, so that these things sting more sweetly when they come and do not leave me crippled in their wake.

Bethany has passed away.

Bethany was a girl with long soft hair, a delicate frame and a pretty face. She moved from Michigan to DC in 2005 to work for PCRM. We were instantly colleagues and friends. I invited her out for food and laughed as she ordered french fries and a coke in lue of the more eclectic vegan options on the menu, for which I had selected the restaurant. She was a lifelong animal advocate and compassionate consumer. Her demeanor was quiet and soft, like her hair. But she was an incredible force for good. She never hesitated when it came to volunteering extra hours to benefit the movement, even after she was employed in it full time, even after she took leave to combat her illness. She organized and inspired other volunteers as well. Everyone who met her loved her instantly. She was the utmost embodiment of a good human being.

In June of 2008, Bethany was diagnosed with a rare form of angiosarcoma blood cancer. When she gave me the news, she suggested that I didn't do too much research on it. Her survival rate was less than 20%. I felt my heart disintegrate. I had no strength then and wondered how I would ever have enough to face today. I can't even imagine how she felt. She did an amazing job of maintaining her composure and optimism and quickly went from being the softest to the strongest person I had ever met.

My love and condolences to those of you blessed with the opportunity to have known her. You are in my thoughts.