It was over five and a half years ago. Deb and I had just been given the news that she had four, perhaps five years to live. (We actually had much less, but did not know it.) We were riding home in the car trying to digest the news when she said, “I wonder if anyone will even remember me in four years?” (She always went with the low number, being a realist. I, being the optimist, insisted on five.)
“I will,” I said.
She squeezed my hand and said nothing. I knew she felt that much of her life was wasted, that she had made little lasting impact in the world.
Well today marks the fourth anniversary since she was taken from us.
This year, her mother and I went to the awards ceremony where the scholarship in her name was given to a lovely girl who wants more than anything to dance.
The historical photography project she worked so hard to complete went up on display at a prominent Rhode Island College. Parts of it will become the posters for future Dance Alliance advertising to promote dance and the arts.
This year I was given a DVD by two of her students showing their winning routine in a Dancing with the Stars contest. The dance was dedicated to her.
The list of her former students who still tell me of lessons they learned from her goes on year after year.
I still get calls on a weekly basis from people who use her riDance website, despite its age.
I meet weekly with many of her favorite students in the classes I now teach, and at local watering holes and, of course, at dances.
So, Deb, I finally won an argument with you.
In time we will all be forgotten, the great, the not-so-great, the famous, and the infamous. But, not today. Today, four years later, I still remember. And so do many, many others.
My life, and theirs, goes on. We grow and we change. I’ve become the writer we always discussed, and I’ve added new friends and new students. I’m moving forward.
But, we are all better for having spent part of our lives with you.
So, I’m off to a dance now. It’s what I do.