Suggest something, and that’s how Sara responded. Whether it was going to see a movie, sharing leftovers, or attending an Iron Man-tough yoga class, Sara’s eyes widened and her face lit up. She’d clap her hands and say “Ooh! Let’s!” like the suggestion was the most delicious way to savor time.
Check out the shops along Newark Avenue for funky jewelry and henna designs?
Take the Latino dollar bus to overhear the juicy bochinche on the ride along Route 139 to Journal Square?
Catch the 5:15 showing of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” at Times Square and dine on nachos?
I had to be careful about what I suggested to Sara or what ideas or dreams I shared. I’ve had some crazy thoughts: I’d run a marathon. I’d marry her cousin. I’d apply to MFA programs. Sara applauded and embraced it all with characteristic delight, which was in stark contrast to my anxious, “Oh, I don’t know…” She always had an answer for that, too.
Sara insisted each and every time, like these ideas made sense. I’d hem and haw some more, mumble something about how such craziness could never possibly happen, then she’d ask the question I spend my life avoiding.
Damn. Sara got me every time with that line. We both knew I had no good answer. Because I’m afraid? I want a guarantee that my decisions will lead me toward success. I want to see how the story ends because if there’s not a happily ever after or a Pulitzer or a Nike contract at the end, then I don’t want that story.
As I write this, I still hear Sara.
I see the possibility of pain in risk. Sara’s super power wasn’t that she was blind to the risk of hurt or failure. She saw the possibility for adventure in any of life’s moments. She knew the greater risk was missing out on the experience and all it could offer. Life is made rich by living every piece of the story, not by living a carefully edited version where all the pain and hurt and disappointment is cut. The ending, even if Technicolor and glorious, isn’t delicious without the story that precedes it, with all the bitter, sweet, sour, and uncertainty.
When I lost my baby boy, a friend said to me, “There are no words.” She was wrong. There are plenty of words to describe hurt and pain, but the feelings that come with loss are enough. I don’t need words that will further darken and deplete me at moments of hurt. What I need is to remember to take the risk of living every day because every moment promises adventure.
My life would be so poor without Sara. Her words will continue to enrich me.