I went to the ocean to sing a song for Miriam, stood looking out onto the waves as they crashed to the shore and thought about my friend. How she would have loved to have been here.
The ocean was her home, the place she went to for peace and tranquility, shepherding men and women to the shore for healing and rejuvenating. I never joined her, promising myself that the next time, the next week, I would join her sand tribe on the beach.
And now it is too late.
This is a song for Miriam, like Miriam of old who sang at the shore of the Red Sea with joy and celebration, leading the women who followed her to embrace the joy, to recover from trauma, to find their strength. And this Miriam, my Miriam, did the same: running to celebrations of friends and families, remaining present for those she cared for, always reminding us to embrace life. Embrace happiness. Remain authentic. She was the woman who celebrated not just a birthday, but an entire month of her birth, traveling and experiencing the world. She was a beacon of energy, a conduit that didn’t stop until, in one monstrous moment, God took her away. Suddenly and sharply.
And now, the world is colder. Is darker.
This is a song for Miriam, composed on ancient stones overlooking the Mediterranean, miles away from my Miriam. Miles away from the woman who was my confidante. My voice of reason. My friend who would sit in my living room laughing and talking and dragging me outside to sit in the sun. Or take a walk. I usually would say no, despite her insistence, but sometimes she would win and I would grab my shoes. Join her at a class. Or just talk.
And now those walks have ended. Our conversations left unfinished. And now she will not visit me anymore.
This is a song for Miriam, a woman whose sudden and painful death is reverberating through my home, my community, and the world, echoing off these ancient stones where I stand above the Mediterranean from miles away, searing the loss into my soul. I weep at the water’s edge, yearning with all my soul to hear the song of my Miriam. To see her on the sand. To hug her again. To take another picture.
There are no more pictures to take.
I came to the ocean to sing to her what I thought would be a mournful, tragic, painful song of loss and shock over how someone with such vitality can somehow just disappear in an instant. But as I stand by the ocean, I hear her voice in the waves, reminding me of what she always preached on multi-colored status updates that inspired thousands. The call to live. To embrace life. And in a painful irony, her death has become the strongest post of all, a powerful coda to all she tried to impart about the tenuous nature of life to those of us left behind. A reminder to go to the figurative shores of our lives, playing tambourines and dancing, and write our song of the sea. Write the song of our lives.
This is my song for my Miriam.