Claire's cousin, Liza Gant, posted this tribute a few days ago. It's beautiful and heart wrenching and true. Thank you for letting us share it with Claire's Community.
Here are some things I know:
Life is beautiful, but it is brutal. It can be ugly and heart-wrenching and unfair.
It's easy to watch something devastatingly horrible happen to your family and fall into cynicism in order to protect yourself from the pain.
Don't. Feel deeply. Get passionate. Get pissed.
I am more sad than I am angry, but not by much. Non-physical domestic abuse (verbal, emotional, manipulation, intimidation, etc) is not universally seen for what it is. It is wicked. It is dangerous. It is the symptom of something much larger.
It is your aunt you've only met once because her husband has ostracized her from the family and she is too afraid to leave.
It is your friend's boyfriend who calls her every 30 minutes while she's out without him, making sure that she knows that there will be hell to pay if she doesn't get back home right when he wants her there.
It is the police saying there is nothing they can do. It is the refusal of a restraining order. It is the idea that if there are no visible marks and bruises, it can't be THAT bad.
It is my beloved cousin, the best person I know, getting shot on a cold January morning on her way to work, by her ex-boyfriend who had never previously laid a hand on her.
I know that am mournful, I am horrified, I am bewildered that there is enough evil in this world that something like this can happen. I am furious that my aunt is left without her daughter and best friend. I am furious that my cousins are left, two older brothers without their younger sister to pick on, protect, and love. My heart is shattered. My family lost our living-room dancer, karaoke champion, and one of our brightest lights.
And I know I am naive enough to think that there is still good in this world.
Claire-Bear... I am blessed to have grown up alongside you, to have shared so many belly-laughs and inside jokes, and to have had you as a constant motivation and inspiration. You loved me through all my junk, you made me laugh incessantly, and I really really really really really miss you.