WHILE WE’RE STILL HERE
This piece might feel a bit disjointed, forgive me, I am still feeling my way through what I would like to write.
This is not a piece about how well or how little I knew Goldie; there will be many about that. It will not be a piece about her work or her craft. It won’t be about how life is short and why we must make it count. We know all that stuff, we’ve said it before.
I’m still a bit shocked by the news of Goldie’s death; you don’t think that someone who was so alive one minute could be just as dead in the next, but it’s true, she’s gone and I have found myself sieving through my mental archives for my thoughts and words on her; remembering what has been said of her.
There are many people who will wake up this morning wishing they could unsay what they have said about her in the comment sections of the various blogs and sites we visit, the casual viciousness that we are all becoming comfortable with. I think about how all we needed was a red carpet line up somewhere, and the comments would start rolling in, it almost felt like people were trying to outdo each other in how inventive they could be in their cruelty.
When we were in school, there was always one child who would pick on everyone else for the amusement of the rest of the class, and while we were afraid that one day it would be us, we laughed nonetheless at the victim for that day. Social media and the internet have turned us all into that kid, picking on anyone that happens to stray across our sights, and Goldie was a steady target.
My friend Ij celebrated her birthday yesterday, and she asked everyone to say something nice about her. Her words were simple, “Don’t wait till I’m dead to start saying how wonderful I am, I want to know now” and as the comments rolled in, she sat back to appreciate what she called her “alive eulogy”. Many of us would perhaps think that she was being a bit vain, but she was right, we withhold praise like too much of it will spoil the person we lavish it on, we ignore the opportunity to tell the people around us how much of an impact they have made in our lives and we are becoming steadily more comfortable with mocking and denigrating anyone who makes the mistake of putting themselves in our line of vision.
If Goldie’s death will remind me of anything, let it remind me to speak kindly, to make the effort to say something good about everyone I encounter, even if I have to dig deep to find those words. Let her death remind me that while it is easier to be cruel than to be kind, it is infinitely more rewarding to bless someone with the words out of my mouth, to lift instead of to pull down. And then let me take it a step further, let those around me never doubt that they are important to me, let them never doubt my appreciation and my gratitude for them and for all that they do in my life. Let nothing be left unsaid that can be said.
Goldie Susan Harvey lived her life like it was truly golden. She cried, she laughed and she lived and she gave us all the opportunity to experience her life as she lived it. May her soul rest in peace.