Monday, May 30, 2011
Honouring the muse
It's been tough to find inspiration while trying to claw out from the belly of confusion and sadness. Though my blog posts had been sporadic at best, I was writing...even making progress on new projects while tackling lingering unfinished pieces.
But on May 21, 2011, my creative drive came to a screeching halt when I learned of the sudden passing of my beautiful cousin, Larissa.
As the oldest on both sides of the family, I am blessed to have unique relationships with each of my cousins - and my relationship with Larissa was no different.
In Edmonton, I am isolated from my family - other than my husband and stepdaughter, my next closest relatives are in Calgary. The distance isn't far - about two hours - and yet, we are as distant as I am to the family that lives in BC, Nova Scotia, Utah, Toronto, Nevada...
Larissa lived in Reno in a small apartment with her new puppy.
But for about 6 months two years ago, she lived with me and my husband. Larissa and my friendship has always been a bit of a roller coaster, but the ride seemed so much more intense for that brief time I had with her in Edmonton. She suffered emotional and physical pain that I simply didn't understand, and despite my deepest desire to be there for her, I failed in so many ways. Opportunities I can never get back.
In truth, I've always admired Larissa. Her song voice gave me chills. I remember so clearly one of our infamous arguments after I begged her for hours to please sing for me just one more time...She'd already been through the family song book twice, and covered every radio hit. She dreamed of being on American Idol. *I* dreamed of her being there, too.
Much like the rest of my talented family, Larissa could not only sing - she was also a stunning dancer, an amazing actress, and she could work magic with a make-up brush and a curling iron. After buying a very expensive flat iron at a West Edmonton Mall kiosk one day, Larissa's smile could have lit up the night sky. I can't count how many make-overs she's given me over the years.
Larissa was passionate, and intellectual, often surprising me with political debates and action plans for causes close to her heart.
She was also a voracious reader with very discerning tastes. She devoured every novel on my numerous book shelves, and often we stayed up late discussing the story's strengths and weaknesses. She even started writing herself...
And she read everything I wrote. Even the stuff I've shared with no one else.
On Friday, I was deleting old texts when my finger hovered over a message from April 28. I'd sent Larissa a script I'd finished working on, and in her excitement - and true belief in me - she read the document in one sitting and couldn't wait to offer her praise. Her text gushed with pride, unconditional love and support.
I don't have the words to describe the hollowness of my heart, or how much I miss my cousin, and her beautiful voice. But I will cling to that text, and dig deep for the inspiration she so often offered.
I miss you Larissa, and love you so very much.