When Alice died—it was four years ago today—the school asked me to write a memorial letter, and a few friends helped. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong, though: maybe we volunteered? Either way. I don’t know if any of us knew what to say—and I certainly didn’t—but we tried our best. And in the end, the final paragraph began, “Weeks, months, years from now, I know I’ll be able to write about what Alice meant to me with much more eloquence.”
Four years, then, isn’t nearly enough. I’m still empty-handed. I went to church this evening and we got to that part where you say the names of people who have died, either silently or aloud, and sometimes people just blurt out a name, and sometimes the silence in the room is deafening. But today, people whispered. Names—a whole sea of names, it felt like—loosed back into the world on one collective breath. There is only so much we can say, but maybe that, and only that, is what I can offer for now.
Here’s Alice circa 2004, heading back to the Zü, our home in Amherst, MA.