Red Fred Project

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In Memoriam: Delaney Clements

Monday, 21 March 2016

"We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid."
- Robert Frost

Dear Delaney,

I’m finding it difficult to write today. I’ve started several drafts of something I might say but my right-hand ring finger keeps tapping the “delete” button on my keyboard. My eyes sting. There is an incessant lump in my throat that isn’t melting. So, the only thing that sorta felt right to do was to write you a letter, even though I know you won’t read it.

You died this morning. From what I’ve read, it was somewhere around 2:00a. When I woke up this morning and saw the multiple posts directed at you and your family, flooding my feed, I saw your face wreathed under a flower crown and I closed my eyes. 

I’ve walked a long time this morning, talking with Jack. Remember Jack? He’s the one that introduced me to you—the one that thought you should make a book. So, as soon as I found out, we decided to find one another and he and I walked for miles and we talked about you. 

We talked about your maturity, your silliness, your ability to laugh, your pain, your creativity, your smile, your reality, and the wonder we’ve always felt about you since we’ve known you. 

I’m also writing this letter because there are a lot of people that have come to know you through our book project and they really care about you. And they are going to care about this milestone in your life. And even though I’m really not sure how or what to say when you’re trying to convey these sort of dark days, I just hope you know—and they know—that I’m holding my chest because my heart is broken while also feeling very deep gratitude for how you eclipsed my life.  

I wish I had something more profound to say, but again, I’m just falling short. I don’t know what else to say other than THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing your creativity with me. Thank you for imagining a really interesting story about a ring, and being lost, and luck, and friends, and a bench by a lake where a little bird would sit to think about her departed grandmother. Thank you for the display of genuine LIVING you LIVED, even though you knew your days were winding down. In every single way, you have made my life better—more strawberry colored than it was previously and that is so very, very important for me to feel, in my grown-up skin.

You are always apart of me. You were before you left, too. You stole my heart from the moment we locked eyes. I will always talk of you with the greatest confidence and kindness. I will happily read your story, over and over again, so that people get to step inside your amazingly creative mind-heart with the turn of a page. 

Thanks for making something NEW in me, Delaney. I’ll miss you.


Dallas GrahamComment