I Wish I Could Have Lent Her My Courage

I have had so many feelings swirling around my head about Chantal. Then I found these photos of her with Bart on her last day of work at Healthy Spot, the doggie day care and all-around amazing dog destination where Bart hangs out a few days a week. The staff there has become like family to us over the last two years.

We were all together at her memorial service last week on the beach in Santa Monica as the sun was setting. Her friends are amazing...they wrote and shared songs, rap, poetry...it was a lovely tribute. Just way too soon.

Look at that moon, and the lone light out on Santa Monica Bay.

I opened the first photo in picasa viewer, and, I kid you not, it froze my computer...I finally had to shut down manually because the picture would not close. I think she was sending me a reminder to pay attention to my memories of her...and maybe more importantly, what I needed to learn from them.

In the Scrapbooking from the Inside Out tradition, I decided to start exploring my own experience of Chantal's death. I was immediately struck by her smile, so ubiquitous to anyone who knew her, and how it hid her pain...her bruised and bound heart that needed the layers peeled off. I created a juxtaposition between the sweet paper...her sweetness, and the distressing...things are not always what they seem on the surface.

I am reminded that I was struggling so much early this year with my back injury, worrying about my future, and I was so hard on myself...I thought I was struggling because I lacked courage - the courage to change what wasn't working, the courage to reach out with more strength toward my dreams, but it turns out I had more than I thought. I only wish I had been able to give her some of mine.

I miss you, sweet girl. We all do.


Kelly Massman said...

I've thought about this young girl many times since you first shared her tragic death! You've done a really beautiful tribute to her! Blessings to you!

Rbarakat said...

Thisis really beautiful Rachel - it really breaks my heart, you have no idea. ((hugs))

nancy said...

This is a great page. Love the peeled back corner.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing this story. It's a reminder to me to keep going, no matter what, even if only out of a sense of solemn respect and determined tribute to those who couldn't.
And thank you a million times over for SFTIO, which has given me courage time and again.