Friday, June 17, 2011
Y(not)2K? (Ward, this is for you.)
To my dear late friend Ward~
Wherever you are, I want you to know that I remember your birthday is on Monday. I plan to eat some cheesecake and think of you. I'm sorry you're not hear to eat it with me, and for quite awhile now, I've been wishing you were here for me to sit down and tell you just how much of a difference you made to me, even though you left this world almost eight years ago.
Three years ago, I started working in mental health advocacy. Little by little, I learned what a fucked up system we had - the same system that treated you like a guinea pig, and never got you appropriate care.
It - and you - gave me a burning desire to make change.
This has not just been a job, but a turning point in my life.
Every year, I have walked in your memory to raise money to help people from falling through the cracks. Our walk team is even named after you.
Each year I have gotten more ambitious about my goals - raising money, rounding up people to raise awareness - and every year, I've been scared that I would not reach those goals.
But I have.
This year, with the support of family and friends (some of whom are reading this), I raised $2,000 for this cause which is so dear to me.
You have been the inspiration on days when I want to walk out, when I think I cannot take one more person who is angry on the phone, or because our budget is always being threatened and people could literally die because of that, or when I think I will start crying because there is no magic wand I can wave to make things better for someone.
Even in absentia, you have been my greatest strength. From you, I learned that being patient and kind is not being weak; that recovery really is one day at a time; that a true friend will always be there.
I thought, if you were here, you'd probably say something like, "Why *not* $2K?" You were always so funny, and so good at cheering people up.
Wish you were here, amigo, but in many ways, you still are.