I would be a liar if I said that Yasaman's death hadn't changed me. And I feel guilty for that almost every day, because really, who am I to feel so fucked up about this? We were friends in grade 8 and part of grade 9, and then I never saw her again. Her parents and brother and family are allowed to feel like this. Her new friends from Port Coquitlam and SFU are allowed to feel like this. I feel like I'm just some schmuck getting choked up about it all the time. I feel like I'm being a pussy.
I did think of a reason why this might be bothering me so much, obvious reasons aside. See, I had never experienced the death of someone close to me before. My grandparents were all dead by the time I was 6 years old, and while I can remember bits and pieces of my nonna's funeral, it didn't have an impact on me at all. Yasaman is the first of people I would consider close to me to die. Other people have, by now, at least been old enough to see their grandparents die and have it affect them. But this is the first instance in my life where death hit really close to home.
Even a year past, I still think about her almost every day. She's become a sort of driving force for me. A month before she died, Yasaman commented on a picture that I'd drawn and posted on Facebook. "Proportion = excellent", and then you implied that my stuff reminded you of Alex Grey's work. I think about that comment a lot, whenever I'm feeling like a failure of an artist. Actually, I was always jealous of the doodles she would make when we were in school together. Just little things, but they were so amazing. I was surprised that she never pursued art (Guess you had more sense than that, huh?). She drew me something once, but I've since lost it. Damn.
I have changed though, somewhere in my psyche. I am now terrified of the people around me dying, especially Max and my family. And what's more fucked up? I've imagined all the funerals, for everyone. You too, Tanis. I know. That's fucked up, right? I just feel like I'm hyper aware of death now. I collect the goddamn obituaries out of newspapers now (only from The Province). I've done tons of independent research on mourning practices from other cultures and different forms of burial. Also, I'm having a hard time keeping it in my head that she;s dead. I forget a lot, or think that I just imagined the whole thing. It's stupid. I have to remind myself, and remember the funeral to make it stick. God, that funeral... It's going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Her tiny casket...
The only thing that has flourished from Yasaman's death (remember I said that I don't like all the cop-out terms people use about death? Yeah, I still don't like them) is that I have become much more in touch my atheism, and that brings me a lot of peace. I looked into that a lot too, and started reading books on the subject and thinking more about it. I know Yasaman isn't in any afterlife, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Though I will admit that I frequently want to know what certain stages of decomposition look like. I KNOW, OKAY? I KNOW. IT'S FUCKED. I CAN'T HELP IT. Yet I can't bring myself to Google such things, because as much of an atheist as I am, I'm still a human being that would rather remember her friend has the absolutely gorgeous young woman that she was, rather than what she's becoming. Also, I think Yasaman would appreciate the grisliness of this.
...Okay, I know I mentioned this before in an April 17th post from last year, but I frequently like to imagine her as a ghost. Yes, it goes against what I believe, but it makes me happy in a bittersweet way. I am going to write a comic book one day with her (or someone like her; I wouldn't want to tarnish her memory in any way) with this as the plot: Ghost of a recently deceased girl gets the chance to roam around the world and see places and things she otherwise never would have been able to experience. She could talk to all her long dead idols, and hell, let's throw a cute ghost boy in there for good measure. I could wish for just one thing to be true, I would wish for this. That she was still seeing things, more than the living could ever hope to see.
Ahhh, sad thoughts for a sad night. It's stupidly late now, and I wanted to write something more deserving of her, but I'm spent for now. I still cry, Yasaman. I still remember. I think I'm going to try and find that roadside memorial and leave you some flowers. If you could still think I know you tell me I'm being dumb. Oh well, guess I'm just a dumb girl then.
Everyone misses you.
Yasaman (Autumn) Rahnamay
November 3rd, 1990 - March 8th, 2011
PS. I watched "Life in a Day" a couple of hours ago. Remember on Youtube, they wanted everyone to film a day in their lives for July 24th, 2010. They made an amazing documentary out of it. I cried more than once, sometimes because something was so nice and beautiful, and sometimes because things were so sad. I will warn you, there are a few things in there that are not for the faint of heart. But you should watch it, because it's a beautiful time capsule of a day in our world. This song from it is amazing, and makes me feel... hopeful? Something along those lines.