I’ve been quietly mourning. I won’t put a time frame on how long because I may not fully understand how long I’ve been in mourning. I’ve been missing dear friends for a long time. I’ve mourned bullies who lost their lives, tangential friendships that functioned parasitically, relationships that we doomed before the first glance. Mourning isn’t something new to me.
A few weeks ago a friend, “Reenz” as they most recently were known online, died in a car accident. It was sudden. It hurt. I still feel the lost. I wouldn’t expect it to have dulled this soon. During the week of Thanksgiving, while everyone was recovering from family and overeating, I was sitting in this familiar — and wishing it weren’t so.
Reenz and I met at Spit Dat, an open mic I co-host with Drew Anderson. Reenz would pull up and shyly chill in the back. At first they would be quiet and kinda wave and say hi to folks.. never more than that. Until months later, Reenz got on the mic — and shyly spat. It was raw, emotional; you know, “shaking page” poetry. After the show I saw Reenz with the biggest smile — happy to be able to share.
They became a bit more outgoing, sharing almost weekly, talking to folks after the set, feeling a little safer when discussing identity. We became friends cause I felt that.. the beginning of a freedom that I was looking for at their age.. shit, in some ways I’m still in search of it..
Reenz had gone through some things and I looked out with some resources, etc. That’s not important. What happened next was special. Reenz began to more openly talk about their experiences in their body. They started to really thrive in an environment that wasn’t designed for them. This was a joy to witness. And I think that’s what I’m mourning.
During the pandemic, Reenz moved away from the area, but we stayed in touch via Twitter. And when I would tweet some random or personal emo thing that no one would notice… I’d get a notification and it was Reenz. Always ready and aware. Reenz began to show up for me in ways I didn’t know were needed. In a time when everyone was isolated, Reenz helped me feel seen.
And just as people started coming outside…
Life is precious because it will eventually end. For all of us. Between birth and death are so many breaths full of light, and disgust and celebration and struggle. We make it. We live it. And when we are gone, our loved ones near and far carry us in their breaths. Reenz, thank you for living in my lungs. I love you.
Peace, Safety, and Memories Made,