My friend’s death humbles me.
In general, I think death can serve as an important reality check for us all; a harsh reminder that life as we know it is indeed temporary. However, Cut Short is (yes, present tense, as I’m confident her cancer free soul is gloriously celebrating) extraordinarily special.
Her life on earth was entirely too short, but in the years with which God blessed her and everyone who was touched by her, she made an incredible impact. I met Cut Short in college as we rushed the same music fraternity. As I looked back through some of the memorabilia I have, I feel honored to have her signature among my things. She had a heart so full of love for music and people, a sharp and silly sense of humor, and a talent brilliant enough to make even the most confident musician doubt her competence. Precocious not only in intelligence but in wisdom, her down to earth manner put even the most insecure at ease. Cut Short was evidence that the best things often come in small packages; the only challenge she seemed to have in those days was a vertical one.
Then Leukemia. Ugh.
I will never forget her calling me and my stepping out of a practice room to take her call while we were in grad school. She spoke with confidence that she would be able to beat it. And she did, like the champ she is. At least – the first time. Sadly, she had to undergo additional treatment last year. She still maintained her cheerful, upbeat demeanor each time we spoke, this time knowing exactly what lay ahead.
I am sad to say that though we kept in touch via Facebook, phone, and email, I didn’t take the time to see Cut Short when I had the opportunity. I mean – she’s Cut Short. She beat odds left and right. How was I supposed to know the last opportunity I would have to see her would actually be the LAST? As I heard her battle here was ending, I reflected on how she’s touched me and desperately hope that I made that evident to her at some point. I felt guilty for occasionally envying her awesomeness. That’s just like Cut Short though – still moving people to be better without lording anything over anyone.
At her memorial service, there was an invitation for her friends and others to be a part of the choir. I am no singer but I leapt at the opportunity. Being among those who love and miss her was both heart-wrenching and joyous. I am definitely a cryer, but I’ve learned over the years that it is difficult to both cry and perform at the same time. I had mixed emotions about the choice to sing because I knew I needed to cry for her and didn’t think I would be able to. Well – I did cry. But not too much. The privilege of singing goodbye for now for my friend allowed me not only to mourn our loss but celebrate both her life and how she continues to touch those around her. Even in her death, Cut Short helped me to see all with which I am blessed. Love. Music. Health. That’s just how she rolls.
Cut Short. I’m sorry I didn’t come see you in July. For my own sake I hope I don’t see you too soon. But I WILL see you. Thanks for being a part of my life.
2005 🙂 Cut Short is being awesome on the far left!