A few weeks ago a person I knew died in an accident.

She was young and vibrant, full of joy and had an infectious excitement for life. It was – is – tragic.

While we were not close, there was a time when she was a big part of my life and we interacted daily. She went out of her way to help me and to build in to my life: she made a difference.

And so, my heart feels heavy.

There’s really not a lot to say. Death is painful, and platitudes can be empty. I don’t see a deeper meaning here.

My friend’s memory will live on in the lives of the people she connected with, the lives of the people she impacted.

“We need a witness to our lives.

There are 8 billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a relationship, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all of the time, every day.

You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’ “

* paraphrased from the film Shall We Dance (2004)

This witness is community.

My friend’s life was cut short. It’s not fair, but she had many witnesses to her life. Her life has been noticed.

Death is heavy. And this is perhaps not the best forum to have this kind of conversation. But this is my way to honour Laura’s memory.

Let me encourage you: as your university year comes to a close, build your community. Connect with people who will witness your life – be the witness for others.

It’s a beautiful, terrible life.

Andrea Koop,
B.Com., Class of 2018

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