I’ve never been a particularly depressive person. Well, for the most part at least. However, sometimes drama somehow catches up with you, be it your own life drama, the drama you make up in your head and the evening news drama. So, there were times where you’d find myself balancing at the edge of that abyss, trying hard not to fall or, sometimes not even trying hard enough.
For me, it was a couple of months ago that I was swayed that way. You know how life feels uncertain at times, and fears starts creeping into your bed at night like the stealthiest of snakes. And you realize how fast it’s all happening, that you’re now old enough to remember things from 10 years that weren’t childhood memories, and that’s when it gets challenging, when you realize that you’re a grown-up and you must own up to it.
In the midst of all that, I woke up one day to find that I was added to a closed Facebook group that brought together girls from my middle school where I spent two years, the 7th and the 8th grades. For some reason, those are the school years I’m most nostalgic for, but all that nostalgia and the cascade of memories didn’t help, especially with the numbers of girls said to have passed away young during the intervening years.
However, one story in particular drew my attention. One of the girls posted something in answer to those who were asking her about her sister, telling them that she passed away 3 and a half years ago. A friend of hers posted a few pictures of her, and the first thing I felt was this deep compassion with that girl I never knew, not only because she was young and pretty, there was something about her, a beauty that shone out of her eyes, which didn’t seem to wane even when her illness started manifesting itself on her. You look at the picture and you can see that she is smiling from her heart, not because she has to, not because she was in any sort of denial, it was the smile of someone who’s at peace with herself, who knows it’s going to be fine one way or another.
Intrigued by that notion, I did some further looking up on Facebook, where I came upon a page dedicated for her memory, and that’s when I was totally blown away. I mean, surely death creates an aura of reverence around the dead, and hearing about someone passing away always has a humbling impact on you, even if you didn’t like that person, but you always manage to find something good to say about them in the heat of the moment. But to find all this love, all these heartfelt words by all these people years after the fact, this must tell you something about that dearly departed.
Seeing that, it was obvious to me that wasn’t an ordinary person, she must have done something right, something special, and I felt a compelling need to find out what it was, or how she was. The bittersweet surprise was when I googled her name and an abundance of links turned up. She was a fellow blogger, and after some further digging I found that she started blogging after she was diagnosed with cancer. Going through her posts, I saw no self-pity, no anger, only faith, love, joy, compassion, and all the good things that come with that. There was only light, and more light.
She was mourned by fellow bloggers who never met her but who were influenced by her beautiful soul just as I was years after her death. Looking at her eyes, so full of life, you can see that she was someone with so much to give that she didn’t just give to those she knew, but also those she didn’t. Not only during her life, but also after her death.
Her name was Ola Muath, she was born in 1983 and left this world in 2012. We never met, but she taught me that life is indeed uncertain, that’s a built-in feature of life, but it doesn’t mean you should live your life with uncertainty. She taught me that this is where you are now so try to make the best of it until your last breath, because it doesn’t matter when you leave this earth as long as you make sure to have made your mark in it, to have made it slightly a better place. She taught me not to be afraid, to embrace whatever comes your way, deal with it with grace and trust that God has a plan for you, a plan bigger than whatever you dream up. She taught me that death is not the end, and I’m sure she’s there somewhere now reaping the fruits of all the good seeds she sowed during her short but precious life.
I wish I’ve known Ola before she left, but I’m grateful to have known her at all, and I hope that one day I’ll meet her in a better place to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart, face to face.