For Caroline

My high school friend Caroline Mitter died of sepsis while fighting mitochondrial disease in September 2019. We’d grown quite close over the previous few years and she was someone who cared a lot about her chosen family and about supporting her friends, so I am sad that I didn’t manage to write a poem for her before she died. However, about six weeks later, I wrote this memorial poem for her and shared it with her family and friends on Facebook.

For Caroline
30 October 2019, in Catonsville, Maryland

“I love you.” That’s all there is to say.
And now you aren’t here to say it to.
So all I can do is care at you.
So all I can do is try to care like you.

I will remember the loyalty you showed me while you struggled,
and do my best to always be there for my friends.
I will remember your anger at the injustice around you,
and do my best to not to succumb to cynicism.
I will remember your sense of humor in the face of pain,
and do my best to keep the darkness from claiming my mind.
I will remember the battles you fought to be _allowed_ to fight,
and do my best to stand up for others so fighting.
I will remember the value you saw in me,
and do my best to be the person you believed I could.

I will remember you in a thousand ways, all at odds:
a lover of people, and a lover of lonely lands;
a tamer of dragons, and one who feared them;
a wise and beautiful writer, and one too bone-tired to speak;
an octopus, a gull, a cloud of bubbles dissolving in the sea…

All there is to do now is keep caring, even though the words are gone.
But one last time, I want to say it:
“Cis-ter, comrade, friend: I love you.”