A few moments ago, I changed my facebook cover page to a photo of Betsy in Egypt in front of the pyramids, she’s leaping in the air, her arms outspread, a wide smile on her face, joy at being in the place she dreamed of going emanating from the photo…her jump in the air was so high I was astounded when I saw it. You see, she was a history major in college, an odd thing for a modern young person to study, she focused on the ancient world which meant she had specialized knowledge in the history of the middle eastern countries…so one year, the idea of Semester at Sea came up, I don’t even know how, but she began to look into taking a trip, just couldn’t imagine the idea of an entire semester away. Then, the perfect trip for her came up, a summer trip that covered all the Mediterranean countries: Spain, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Morrocco, and Greece (of course not in that order) They would board the ship in Canada, float across the Atlantic, have classes on ship, have time to have some classes and/or excursions while ashore, it was just perfect. Especially for Betsy, she was in the process of writing an honors thesis about the economic ramifications of the Oracle of Delphi. In addition to her history major with the ancient world concentration, she also had a minor in economics and something else. She was much smarter than I was and combined the coursework in an interesting way, having no clue how to work this into a job.
However, during her senior year, she discovered and became interested in working for the FBI, either for cybercrimes or for anti-terrorism considering her knowledge and Pitt happened to have an excellent graduate program for that sort of job. She applied and was accepted and given a scholarship, very unusual in grad school. She had taken one semester off, due to her graduating early from Pitt, even though she’d transferred there from Case Western…amazing…but she was working prior to her death and saving money for school. She was just a great kid who loved life.
I think this photo may help me remember her joy in life, although I realize that my sadness in missing her taints the wonderfulness I miss about her. I do recall thinking about trying to live as she did, I guess that’s harder to do without her around than I thought. It’s hard to be that happy and not have her with me to see the result. The empty part of me that was selfishly filled by her wants to know that she is aware of that or wants to be comforted for her loss. I’m learning that in a loss such as this, there really isn’t any comfort, if I became angry at God or ranted or raved about the situation nothing would change anyway. People say the pain lessens, I guess it sort of has, but not really. I think that it is a numbness within you that you just have to accept and as time goes on you just learn to accept the hurt inside of you and it’s not as shocking to you anymore, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt less. I never, ever, ever thought my daughter would die before me, most parents don’t so hearing Joy to the World just can make me angry. There’s a lot of hurt people walking around while others pretend they aren’t hurting. They just don’t notice it. But that’s part of being a human, we’re not really connected with one another.
If we were connected, we would think of others instead of ourselves first. The quote, Love thy friends as thyself would really mean something, because what does it mean? Does it mean that we just take care of the hungry during the holidays? What about the rest of the year? And what about those who are sick with grief? How many of those are neglected because we are uncomfortable listening to them? Are these mere words we say when we worship? Do we really mean Joy to the World or just to those who are like us? Or those who think like us? Look like us? Live like us? What does it really mean to be connected with someone else and to love your friends as yourself?