Death has a way of opening our eyes, which is ironic because quite literally, the act of dying closes our eyes forever. But over the past week, I've felt the impact of death, not only on me but within my former dance community.
A couple of days ago, one of my previous, fellow dance teammates passed away. At first, I was completely stunned to the point of not feeling anything at all. You know when you're so shocked that emotion doesn't quite kick in right away? You're left sitting on your futon practically with your mouth agape and no real thoughts going on in your head. You just feel a rush of emotions, each one too complicated to figure out just yet. So you sit there, letting shock overtake your body, and you don't say or do much.
That night, I cried a little when I began to settle down, watched an episode of a TV show, and tried to fall asleep. While I was laying there with my eyes closed, forcing myself to relax, I couldn't help but picture flashbacks of the moments we had shared together, of the times we doubled over in laughter, the ones where we choked on hairspray making sure our hair was perfect before heading out to perform, the ones that were so genuine. So pure.
When I begin to remember those moments, I can't help but think as I look back on myself, "Larissa, stay in the moment. Listen to her laugh. Listen to her cries. Help her through her hard moments and be there for her good. In three years, she will no longer be here." But of course, you never know the future, so those fleeting moments of passing time that are easily overlooked, which also happen to be the most important moments in life, must never be forgotten. They're the moments we as people truly love, admire and live together, even if it's unknowingly.
Life isn't picture perfect. If it was, the 19-year-old girl with a heart of gold would still be here, preparing for college finals and getting ready to dive into a Thanksgiving dinner. She would be preparing her Christmas gift list for Black Friday and talking with her friends about which stores they should all hit together. Sometimes, life just fucking sucks.
As mournful as these past couple of days have been, it has also been equally as beautiful. Through the tears and shock, my former teammates have united in solidarity to remember together, to cry together, and to help together. Girls I haven't talked to in years have been sending texts in a GroupChat, offering condolences and support alike. Years, miles, and milestones may have pulled us apart, but a loss of a beautiful soul has also brought us back together, and that is exactly what she deserves.
The dancer who lit up the stage with her perfect turns and leaps deserves to be remembered and honored for the person she was, and after spending years practicing and performing together, for a while, we knew her best. So even though time may have drifted us apart, her spirit has made us a team again. It's what she would have wanted.
Although it's easy to get caught up in the spiral of sadness, finding your bed more intriguing than anything else and becoming close friends with a tissue box, it's important we look for the beauty. A death can not only be remembered by the pain we feel but in the positive impact it also has on us too.