Tomorrow is Emily's* birthday - she would have been 25. As I often do when I'm particularly missing her, I'm watching the video "Diocese of Today's Youth" (or some such thing), which is basically a slideshow of photos with music in the background. Since I was 16 when a couple other peer ministers compiled it, it's got most of the people who were peer ministers right before or with me and a few significant people slightly younger than I am. What I usually do is to watch them go by and then pause the pictures of Emily and remember for a few seconds before I go on.
Anyway, right now I'm paused on a picture that shows Emily and another girl tickling me. (For one thing, we all look really really young, but that's not surreal.) In most pictures, I have no idea where these people are now and what they're doing - Barb is in my liturgy class, Lyn is a social worker, and Hopie is traveling around the world, and that's about it - but I have every reason to believe they're still alive. (I saw many of them a few years ago at Emily's memorial service.) But of the three of us in this picture, Emily is certainly dead, I am certainly alive, and the third girl could easily be either. Last I heard she was a prostitute in Cleveland somewhere and was in the hospital, but that was a few years ago. For all I know, she's gotten help somewhere and is living marvelously - then again, for all I know, she could be dead too. That's what's surreal about that picture.
*I googled to try to find a picture of Emily to link to, but the only decent one I could find seems to be on a website using it to help further racism. It's an ironically sickening memorial for a woman as passionate about social justice and human dignity as Emily was.