Letter: A note for Emma

To the Editors:

When we are young, we are invincible. The world is at our feet, our future unfolds before us and our minds are awoken at every possibility. We are reckless, we are passionate and we are bold, we seek adventure, we yield at no challenge and we test the boundaries of our stars. Our concerns are of our future, we wish for greatness and for love and we pursue it at no bound.

This past weekend a girl living less then five miles from my doorstep died — her flight was stopped short, her wings clipped. I did not know she existed until I heard of the tragedy by word of mouth and opened Facebook to an influx of messages written to her by classmates, friends and admirers alike in a group entitled “A Book for Emma.” Out of curiosity and sadness I read the statements both short and long, I looked at pictures of her and was immediately taken aback. She was beautiful, nothing short of striking, a trait falling in line with the words written about her character. Her smile was open and warm and her eyes told you of nothing but genuine happiness was within her soul; she was a vision and she was incredible.

The communities she had been a part of wove words of solemn memories out of their keyboards to create the tapestry of reverence that lay before me on my laptop’s screen. They were the words everyone had always thought, the words people had always wanted to tell her and the words that make you realize the impact of one person. An entire network of people had been touched by this young heart and vibrant personality, and thus felt compelled to tell her how much she meant.

I saw comments, “likes” and words of support from students from my own town and was immediately brought back to a few virtual weeks ago. Students from our opposing, rival towns had thrashed words against one another, maybe all in good fun, yet full of slander. These are the words that many times come to the surface, the words that are easy to say, bred from jealousy and self-righteousness; these are the words we do not mean.

The beauty that takes form in the wake of tragedy shows the true ability to love inherent in all of us. The words of hate that are easy to muster fall to the wayside, usurped by the stunning truth that we feel. This girl was stunning, she was special and she deserved to know what so many people thought so long before she passed. She could have been the boy sitting behind me in French, the person I nodded politely to at Starbucks, the girl who I had never gotten along with, and she could have been me. There is nothing to mend this and nothing that will bring her back, but she is present on that Facebook group in the hearts and minds of so many who will never get to see her face light up when they tell her what they always will remember about her.

Live like those comments on that lovely girl’s Facebook page and never fear to tell someone how they have touched you. Do this, and Emma Sandhu will live.

Maddie Hoffman

Hurlbutt Street, March 17