25 April 2010
A Post-Mortem for Amanda--and Gwen and Yusuf
I'm still thinking about Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, and the vigil I attended for her.
You might say I'm feeling a bit of survivor's guilt right now. I never met her, but I couldn't help but to sense that she was actually as beautiful a person as her friends said she was. I say that because, in spite of her violent death, everything about that vigil--from the way people spoke of her to the makeshift memorial by her apartment--radiated serenity that, because it was the reflection of a soul truly at rest, left us with more than grief.
Why was she killed so horribly, and at such a young age? I guess I could answer that question as a Buddhist would and say that whatever she had to learn in this life, she learned, and it was time for her to pass on to another life. But why was her exit such a house of horrors?
Of course, it's terrible when anyone is murdered. But it's been a long time since I've been so affected by the killing of someone I never met. Probably the last time I felt as I do now was after I heard about the murder of Gwen Araujo. And, before hers, there was the death of Yusuf Hawkins.
I actually met Yusuf's grandfather once, briefly. There really wasn't anything I could say to him. He probably heard "sorry" more times than anyone should. And what good did it do him, his family--or Yusuf? If I recall correctly, I offered to help him and his family in whatever way I could, even though I could not envision what that way might be, if there was one.
He died much younger than anyone should. So did Gwen and Amanda. Had they lived, Yusuf would be a man coming into the prime of his life, Gwen might be in the early stages of the career to which she aspired--that of a makeup artist. And Amanda was probably just beginning to live the life she'd envisioned for herself; the beauty that all of those people saw in her probably had to do, in some way, with her acceptance of them which, of course, was a result of her acceptance of herself. Few people realize just how powerful that actually is; I would love to see what kind of a life she (or someone) could have had after developing a sense of his or her own self based on that willingness to be who one is. I've come to it much later in life than she did; therefore, I will most likely never accomplish some of the things she might have been able to do had she lived. The same could probably have been said for Gwen and for Yusuf. Still, I can't help but to feel that I have at least one opportunity that they never had. I have no idea as to why I was given this chance at the life I'd always dreamt about, but here I am.