Every once in a while, an event occurs of such tragic proportion that one re-assesses everything. No, I’m not talking about Sept. 11, though that would qualify for many. This week, I need to honor the memory of one of my oldest friends, a woman who passed away in a recent scuba diving catastrophe in Belize, alongside 16 other people when their boat was capsized by a hurricane. I do this because I am mute lately. Those looking for the usual Bushwhacking, please forgive me.
Lisa was probably the first girl I ever had a crush on. A couple years older than me, she ended up being more like a big sister. Later, as our lives diverged, she was always someone I could relate to, no matter how much time elapsed. Completely comfortable with herself, she was as grounded a person as I’ve ever known and lived for family and friends—as evidenced not only by the huge outpouring of grief since her accident, but by the selfless way she lived her life to the very end. Always a shore for others, her spirit likely came from being raised in a wonderful family I was privileged to glimpse throughout my youth.
Whenever I think of her, I am flooded with memories of another time and place: namely, the impossibly green summers of our youth in Virginia (lightning bugs and crickets singing)—the best days I can imagine. Memories of the sun are entwined with her long, blonde curls, or her worn-out rock concert T-shirts, or her laugh. The two of us lying on the floor of her parents’ unfurnished rug basement, listening to flamenco guitar on the stereo with our ears to the floor. We played it at different speeds, our heads on the ground nearly touching—feeling for vibrations. It is a moment that, to this day, strikes me as magical.
And now her passing has forced me to think more positively (no small feat) and treasure time more deeply.
That makes her an angel in this life.
Everyone out there knows someone they feel just as strongly about. If you’ve made it through this column, I would ask that you show them love as much and as often as you can. In honor of the people whose lives ultimately make ours worth living.
Lisa Powell, Rest in Peace
1. STOP BOMBING already
2. Journalist Robert Fisk
3. Smog at Moxie’s (10/20)
4. Gerald Wallace
5. Twilight Zone at the Blue Room