A Person to be Remembered:
I found out today that a girl I went to highschool with, Alice Hoffman, died of leukemia on Tuesday. She was only 18. Though I didn’t know her particularly well, the news shook me, because she was one of those characters that one meets and never forgets. The girl had such gusto– she had been battling leukemia since the age of 12, and whenever anything– leukemia, bullies, etc.– knocked her down, she not only never surrendered, but would also get “right back on” , an expression my mother might use when referring to falling off of a horse. She was wonderful–kind, funny, a breath of fresh air, really. But also sassy! I remember once (Alice was in a wheel-chair because of her illness), when someone said something that insulted her (I can’t remember who this person was or what they had said), she took her little wheel-chair joy-stick and sped off in the other direction, presumably, I thought, in upset retreat. But, in typical Alice fashion, she wasn’t speeding off in the other direction to run away–she was speeding off in the other direction so that her wheel-chair, when she whipped it back around, would gain enough momentum to charge at this guy and do damage, which she effectively did after she ran over his foot. She was not someone to be messed with.
Alice’s Leukemia made her too weak sometimes to continue attending the school we both went to, which was a boarding highschool in Massachusetts–pretty far away from her house and family in Houston. Even I, a pretty average, healthy person, had a hard time dealing with the complications and issues that living thousands of miles away from your house and family at a young age entails. Alice never once gave up on returning, though, despite her health and her family, who I’m sure were hard to part with during the academic boarding year. Alice always came back, seamless in spirit, though evidently physically worn from her unfortunate circumstances.
Alice had a cheerful demeanor, which I always looked forward to when seeing her. She was given the same work load and expectations as every other student at the school, yet never submitted to the complaining and self-pittying that most of us (myself included) did. She was genuinely a person I looked up to and continue to look up to, for all of these reasons. If ever I feel that life has shafted me, which it will inevitably do, I will think of Alice and her relentless gusto for life and the beautiful smile she wore when delivering me a “Hey Lucy!” on a chilly winter morning, walking or wheeling to an 8 AM class.
Alice, I’m glad I knew you. You were a brave and beautiful person. Though you yourself cannot, thank you for inspiring myself and others to live with a mentality influenced by your own. You may no longer be present in this place, but you will be remembered.