I know this is an unusual post for this blog; however, this is the most meaningful piece I’ve ever written. If I can share one thing with this world; if art is truly meant to communicate beauty; then I think sharing Elena’s warmth and effect on my life is a pretty good choice. The world may have presidents and kings, but no one has impacted me quite like Elena. I still pray for her help every night, particularly with my silly romantic hopes. 😛
In Memory of Elena Ariano
Truth be told, I only met Elena once. But I think about her every night.
There are some people who leave a lasting impression of “good”. Some people who just are able to stir the biggest smiles and the warmest tears. Elena is one of those people.
I was with some of my high school friends when one of them told me about her passing. After only a few seconds to register the news, I couldn’t stop crying. I was a man in front of my male friends in the middle of a restaurant, and I just couldn’t stop. My face became swollen, my cheeks damply red, and my eyes were a mess of two broken shrubs in a swamp of bloodied sadness. I have never cried as much in public in my entire life as that night, in fact, that is the only time I have ever cried in front of friends— and I cried those blood-red tears for hours. My friend, who told me, kept asking me “Are you ok? Are you ok?” Looking back on that night, I have never been so “ok” in my entire life; never been so proud to be so sad; never been so honored to feel and express such intense emotion for such a wonderful person.
I have thought quite a bit about why I suffered an emotional breakdown when I learned of Elena’s passing, and why I have thought about her every night in my prayers since. True, I only met her once: she joined us at a little Halloween get-together in my apartment in DC, and besides becoming friends on Facebook, we never spoke after that. I have considered if my emotion was caused because I had a little “crush” on Elena, and yeah, admittedly, I thought she was beautiful. Obviously, she is beautiful.
But the biggest reason, I believe, is that although I only knew Elena for several hours on a Halloween day, I loved Elena. I love Elena. Because she was so funny, so interested in others, so kind, so smiling, so inquisitive, so sweetly dorky, so beautiful, so fun; such an amazing, laughing, dancing, thoughtful, great person… that I couldn’t handle the world losing such a wonderful person so quickly. I think the reason I was so sad, why I am getting so sad even writing this note, is that I was shocked about how Elena, a person who was the definition of “full of life”, the definition of love and happiness and fun, could have possibly been taken from this Earth only a few months after I met her. If there was anyone who embraced life, it was her… if there was any person who was made to make others happy, to enjoy life, to be the friend who was always caring and cared for— it was her. Elena is special. Even after only knowing her briefly, it was obvious. And I just couldn’t believe that Elena, one of those special people, with one of the greatest smiles that ever existed, how that same Elena could possibly pass away… it seems truly unfair.
I know I may not be the best person to write a testimonial about Elena, because I didn’t know her that well. We had talked about meeting up in Connecticut for the holidays, and the fact that I never got in touch with her; well, it’s one of my true regrets. However, this much I can say: Elena treated me with kindness, with warmth, with a degree of goodness that has made her one of those touching and warm memories…that makes me thank God every night in my prayers, and compels these warm tears that are so beautiful. I just always have to thank God for having had the pleasure to know her, and sometimes, I even ask Elena for help, because, well, I know she’s that sort of soul. I only knew her for a few hours, but I assure you, she will remain in my head and in my heart as long as I’m alive. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s wonderfully true.
I have met all sorts of people in my life. And I tend to have optimism, I tend to think people are good at their cores, but Elena was one of the people who I knew, without a doubt, was filled with goodness. I couldn’t imagine Elena doing anything bad, because she was that kind, that caring, that warm person, who just with ease was able to bring a tremendous amount of joy to both me and my friends. In just one day, Elena made a difference in my life, and her memory, her spirit, whatever one would call it, continues to make a difference every day. Thanks Elena.