Because I Knew You

Back in November, I wrote a piece about learning that a dear friend, Hatter, had terminal cancer. Yesterday, I got the phone call that Hatter died Saturday. This letter is for her.

Hatter,

Can you believe that it’s been only two years since we first met? It feels like you’ve been part of my life for a lot longer. Isn’t it amazing how that happens?

Before we part ways, I just have a few things to say. Thank you for helping to create a fantastic trans-rights group like ITL in the first place, and thank you for hiring a young transman to work there. I couldn’t have asked for a better part time job.

Thank you also for being so supportive of me as a whole person. Sure, you were available to help with anything ITL-related, but you didn’t stop there. You encouraged all of us who worked for the program to go after whatever it was we wanted. You went to concerts and shows, you read, you opened your home and your heart to all of us. I still remember how proud you were to hear that I was continuing to look for a position in education, and the light in your eyes and the smile on your face when you found out I’d landed a teaching job. I remember how, at the presentation we gave about the work I’d done with ITL, you told the audience about the amazing opportunity I was taking, and how you and all of the ITL family supported me.

I still remember the last time I saw you. You came to the Farewell Party my family hosted a week or so before my move. You chatted not only with my parents and me, but also my other family and friends, and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. Before you left, you pulled me aside and gave me a present: A good-luck coin that had once been presented to you by Artie. Then you gave me a hug, kissed my cheek, and reminded me that I could always count on you for support.

You may not have been part of my day-to-day life these past few months, but now that you’re gone I feel like a little piece is missing. I’m sorry that I couldn’t see you over the holidays, because I would have loved to give you one more hug and hear your voice one more time. And yet, maybe it’s better this way. My memories of you will always be that of a strong, vibrant, lively person with a big smile.

“Whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine, by being my friend.”

Love,

CJ

PS The coin hasn’t left my pocket since you gave it to me.

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