Unwritten

Once in a great while, a person of great consequence crosses our path.  Sometimes, such a person reveals themselves to us in the form of a young person, yet to reach their full potential and it is a gift to see them just before full bloom.  As a parent, I am fortunate to come into contact with young people all the time, just shining with promise.  I find as my kids get older, their friends are developing into people whom I consider friends.  One such young friend of mine was 13 year old Esme Kenney.  Tragically, Esme’s young life ended on the beautiful afternoon of Saturday, March 7th when she went for a run just across from her house.  For some inexplicable reason, she crossed the path of a man who personifies evil and was cruelly yet swiftly murdered.

Esme was many things to me and to my family.  She was the glowing young daughter of my dear friends Lisa and Tom.  She was my daughter Maddie’s long time friend and sleepover pal.  She was my son Jack’s first ever girlfriend.  Esme was the first and most often commenter on this lowly little blog.  She was, as described by her family… sister, daughter, friend, family connector, communicator, musician, poet, music lover, dreamer, snuggler, healer, fish catcher, boat driver, cook, water skier, adventurer, dress-up queen, secret agent (shhhh), babysitter, valentine, flower child, tech head, learner, enthusiast, light bringer, smile-giver.  She was so much to so many and the hole she has left in her absence is unfathomable.

There are simply no words to describe what the loss of this child, this young woman, has had on everyone who ever knew her, and many who did not.  I am close enough to the center of this tragedy to see first hand how the community at large is wrapping the Kenney family in its warm embrace of support, food, prayers, notes and promises of positive activism.  This has been a beautiful phenomenon to witness.  I don’t think I or anyone will ever know how far the ripple effect will go from here.

Esme was a 7th grader at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, where both of my kids go to school.  One source of comfort throughout this ordeal has been the presence and sharing of Art.  Poetry, Music, Quilting, Jewelry Making, Singing, Writing, Drawing, Dancing.  All of these have been a part of remembering Esme, grieving for her, and comforting each other in our loss of a dear young friend.  I for one have a deeper yearning for and commitment to reach farther for my own artwork and to value even more so, the work of other artists. One thing I have always known, but has been driven home so much more poignantly in recent days is that : ART IS CRUCIAL to being a human being.  It is one of the very things that makes us human.  There is no telling what Esme would have done with her life had she had the opportunity to reach adulthood.  But no matter what, she’d undoubtedly always have music around, either on her cello or her i-pod.  She’d have had poetry at hand, either handwritten in her notebook or in a published book at her bedside.  Esme was an Artist, in the truest sense of the word.  She lived life wide awake.

Our challenge in this mixed up world is to wake up, fully, and experience what riches this life has to offer.  It is really all we can do.  Poet Mary Oliver asked, “What will you do with this one wild and precious life?”  I am not really sure.  But I know I have a fervor for living that was strong before this tragedy and is now even more so.  I am grateful for the gift that was Esme.  One of Esme’s favorite songs lately was a song by Natasha Bedingfield called Unwritten.  On recent runs it’s come around on my i-pod a couple of times and I couldn’t help but take note of the lyrics.  On Days Like This, it all seems like good advice….

Unwritten lyrics

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah