Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear Eileen

Dear Eileen,

I skipped my swim this morning. No, it wasn't any of my usual excuses: out late seeing a musical with friends, or up late trying to finish a book, or sucked back under the covers by one of Francis' hugs. It was out of fear. Fear of facing a gaping hole that has been left in the OWS community.

I didn't want to go down to the subway station at 5:20, and face the reality that you would not be there. Cowardice. Really lame, Laura. But I just don't want to believe it yet. Your company on the 5:25 AM downtown C train was something I looked forward to every day, even when I knew it was unlikely that you would be there. It's great having someone to talk to at such an ungodly hour, and helps the mind wake up. It got me ready to swim my heart out. We'd chat about simple things: when your school would be on break, what story I was working on, our families, the fact that we would both rather be on The Cape than stuck in a Manhattan subway station. Sometimes it would be more serious: chemo, pain medication, if you needed help with anything when I got home from work. All of it, the good and the bad, is now something I treasure. 

Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and swimming mentor. Despite having a swim resume of envy, you were humble and kind to everyone who came out to Brighton Beach to swim. Thank you for being one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport. Thank you for being willing to talk to me so early (I think it helped us both wake up!). Thank you for blazing trails and establishing new swims. Thank you for volunteering to crew for me when I attempt Cape Cod Bay. Thank you for being a friend to all of us who dare to plunge into chilly, salty, shark infested water.

Those who leave us are never really truly gone. We live through what we leave behind, and you, Eileen, have given more than you can possibly know. 

I will try to get on that train tomorrow. You would want that. Besides, I will need to log the pool hours if I want to swim to P-Town just like you. 

Hold Fast,


PS- This song on repeat all week. We talked about our families a lot, and I once told you about how I broke Canon Law and sang this as the prelude song at my grandmother's funeral. It makes me think of both of you: strong, inspirational, amazing women who love the ocean.