Friday, April 6, 2012

Missing Lisa

On Easter Sunday, it will be 6 years since my friend Lisa Radtke was murdered.

Even now, it feels completely surreal to write that sentence. It seems unnatural and bizarre, and almost impossible to fully accept, but there it is.

What doesn't feel surreal or unnatural are my memories of Lisa when she was still here. That girl was so great. Have you ever met one of those people who had a genuine smile for everyone, even idiots? That was Lisa. I can still hear her laugh, and I will be so sad one day when that memory fades. She was wickedly funny, whip smart, creatively warped, and above all, one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. It's easy to hold people up in an artificial light after they pass away - it's only natural, I think, to focus on the best parts of a person in our memories. But Lisa was so young (23 and a couple of weeks from graduating), so full of brilliant, blinding potential, so alive. She loved this band. She loved being a born-again Christian. She loved everyone. She was a beautiful, vibrant person on our Earth, who had so much to give, and did so willingly and regularly, and she's gone.

We snickered our way through Urban Planning classes (my minor) and various clubs on campus, all of which I joined up solely because she was there. She just made life more fun. She had that special gift of making everybody around her feel better in that moment. And I can't tell you how much it sucks that she isn't here anymore, and for such a tragic reason.

It's especially poignant that the anniversary falls during National Mental Health week, because she was murdered by her mother, who was dealing with untreated mental illness. We used to talk about her issues with her mom, and I remember consoling her when she'd get a guilt-ridden email or voice mail from her while we were in class. She was confounded by how to love her mom enough to see her through the rough patches. I'm sure that's why she went home that weekend. It wasn't to wash her dirty laundry as much as it was to check on her mom. I have no idea how to even parse what would happen on that trip home, no idea (especially now, as a mother) how it could possibly come to that.

I feel conflicted when I read that people who loved Lisa are in touch with her mother in prison, but I know without a doubt that Lisa would approve. I don't know that I will ever sort this out fully in my mind, but I do know that I'm better for having known her, and I will always, always miss her.


Jen said...

I'm so sorry, Sarah. This is just one of those seemingly senseless that echoes forever. I'm sorry you're hurting this weekend. I'll dig around in my blackened soul for some good juju to put out for you. :)

Sarah Hunt said...

Thanks, Jen. You WISH you had a blackened soul but it's all a lie. :D

kd2 said...

This is so unbelievably sad. I think we've come a long way in recognizing the importance of mental health, treating it, and erasing the negative stigmas attached....BUT we definitely have a marathon to go.

I know this brings up a lot of " stuff" for you Sarah - I'll send some juju too. My soul is not blackened - I think Cajun is way overdone these days. In fact, I suggest Jen's is only lightly sautéed ;)

Sarah Hunt said...

Thanks, Katie, for always holding your friends in the light. One positive effect (if it's right to even put it that way) of Lisa's death is that it made me more willing to outwardly appreciate my friends. I never told Lisa how much I cared about her or how I proud I was (she was several years younger and I really was), and I really regret it. I know she was loved and she knew that, so it's not tragic, but I really wish I'd let her know. Her positivity guides me now more than ever, somehow. Maybe I'm getting wiser and shit. :D

Joellen Whetstone said...

You are the kind of friend who cares so much that it shows in everything you do whether it's sharing stories, cookies, your soul or just plain silence. I know she knew you loved and cared for her. No one can be your friend and not know you love them. I don't say it enough to you, but I definitely love you. So much that if I actually stop what I'm doing and think about it, I cry every time. So, there's that. You've always been the wise one and shit.

Post a Comment