A Tribute to A Soul
A pain harbours and suffocates my heart’s beat,A muffled terror cry shrieks, gasps and breathes
Hoping you watch in peace from soul’s seat
In spirit world, watch flashes of my anger seethe
Bogani café, a local pub, our favourite haunts
Never again. Over me, Stephanie,
Fate lingers, spooks and taunts,
I can’t believe we’ve shared a last memory.
You taught me love without fear,
To trust my heart, lighten life’s weight
Live life’s path as if it were clear
Now you will teach me Faith.
As I tribute your fierce, gentle, loving soul,
I know you want me at peace, but I am no longer whole.
Sapna Sehgal, March 9 2011
A scrambled attempt at Shakespeare’s form, but I had to try. In memory of Stephanie Wertz, who moved on March 4, 2011, age 27, to a spiritual world.
Stephanie, on Sunday, when I pre-read the tribute to you published in the Edmonton Journal today, I stopped suddenly at the words "although struggling through many health concerns" and kind of choked on these words. Of course, I knew you had muscular dystrophy, but I never felt that you fit under the label of those who have a "disease" or have "health concerns".
It was only yesterday that I saw the Muscular Dystrophy Canada page for the first time since 1998, as thirteen years ago, my teenage mind accepted your definition of the disease. You would never let me think of it as a problem – to you, MD was just a reason you couldn’t walk, simply an inconvenience – in fact, to you it was more like the reason your shoes would last forever and we could hang, not carry, our shopping bags. Degeneration never crossed my mind, and this word, plastered across MD’s site like a virus, holds an ugly, sickly, connotation I could never associate with you.
I will always remember your unique perspective on any situation, as it often starkly contrasted my own. For me, the question is always, why, why, why? As it is now, why, why, why would a happy soul as yourself, engaged to be married, moved into an apartment, fiercely independent, just about to experience the heights of life, leave us? Where did you go? To you, a scientist with a spiritual conscience, while the question is still why, the answer can sometimes be acceptance without evidence. Equally, an idea can be accepted and understood without judgment or the nagging question ‘why?’ In your quirky, but blunt way, you gave me advice that I took and advice that I ignored. I will not say I have a faith, but every time, I knew in my heart there was Faith you were right.
You taught me about love. I am ashamed to say that it took me much, much longer than it should have to accept that true love had no boundaries of age, appearance or social judgment. It transcends that. Darryl and you had a love beyond fairytale fantasy.
You taught me about dreams. Never, for even a second, have you questioned my wildest dreams. Gentle encouragement aside, you would just say, this is what you need to be doing. To my doubts, you responded, you will be ok, honour your talents.
You taught me about self-honesty. Feel what you need to feel, Sapna. I remember the words of a high school day so long ago. Of romantic losses and losses of other kinds, you told me to abandon the why and work towards acceptance.
You taught me about happiness. It was like your perspective was twenty years old than mine; fun, quirky, but oh, so much more wise. That’s so great, Sapna, you said about my ambitious schedule, but are you still enjoying life?
If there is one talent I have in this world, it is to write, you told me. When I asked you to critique a story, you simply responded that you couldn’t describe your answer; it was like pieces sewed together perfectly and I had to follow this passion.
Heavy heart does not even begin to describe the pain that both harbours and suffocates my own heartbeat; it is as if a muffled, terrified cry replaces the steady, athletic beat. The most intense emotional pain I suffered three years ago, you pulled me through, and three years later I am finally at peace. Compared side by side, that wound to this one was a paper cut on a massive Allied battle ground in Normandy.
Your positive outlook always gave me the strength I needed when I didn’t know what to do. I’m not going to pretend to know what to do this time, either, Stephanie. I will not pretend to know where you are, but I hope that you will somehow prove to me, in a paranormal, quirky way, that you are safe.