I was sitting just here nine months ago, leaving London. I remember the unreadable novel I bought in that kiosk to read on the plane. I remember the weather, slate grey, and the gate change and the elegance of the woman sitting near me in the lounge. I remember, but more accurately feel in my chest, the hollow misery of flying away from my friend, Charlotte, who would suffer the misery and then death that she and we all knew was coming, soon.
I’ve seen death before. We die: there you are. Charlotte chose to live and die with daily purpose and connection. These past months devoted to doing my part to carry on some of that legacy on her behalf feels like much longer than months. I’m not the same woman at gate B32 as in July. These are not the same wet eyes and snuffles. And, I hope, not the same wary observers.
I leave London assured that Charlotte’s Helix is securely established with good minds and motivation to carry it forward. Charlotte’s family and friends, fellow advocates, scientists, and kind conference delegates now form a neat basket for what was, 9 months ago, something two women made up sitting outside a farm kitchen door.
I’m older and wiser. This experience has grounded me, humbled me, matured me. As I sat here and considered it I realized this response, of action and purpose, is what growing up does for you. It’s not about me and my loss or my role. It’s about thinking bigger, about acting instead of just reacting. I am perhaps finally an adult, complete with Big Girl Pants.
It’s courage, which Charlotte had and lent us, collectively. Thank you again, Charlotte.
More about the trip later... with pics!