Death is a Circling Shark

I'm going through a hard time.

Although I'm not that old--still clinging to my twenties--the older I get, the more mortal I feel. I always wonder if everyone has the same experience I do--feeling death circle me like a hungry shark, at times getting too close for comfort. Sometimes it's far away, and it's a passing family member who has gotten on with age, and has successfully lived a long and illustrious life. Sometimes it's too close, and I can suddenly feel my own mortality, a palpable, pulsating thing that doesn't realize its own existence until it's nearly too late. And sometimes, it hurts more than others.

I've had quite a few young friends pass. I wonder if this is normal, or if I'm unlucky (what a horrible choice of words, because I'm obviously lucky compared to them--I'm fucking alive, aren't I?).

Yesterday, I found out that a beautiful soul left this earth. I met her through my first real relationship ever--she was in his circle of best friends and we spent years of our lives together. I know we sometimes see R.I.P. posts shared on Facebook, and they all say the same things: Daughter, lover, husband, friend, teacher, good person, will be missed. They're all true, but it doesn't hit home for you because you don't know them. Your eyes glaze over as you skim this stranger's internet obituary, and then you move on to the next funny viral animal video on your feed.

But man, was she ever those trite things and more. She was a bright, shining star, an entrepreneur, extremely smart, intensely present and personal for the ones she loved, the life of the party, the funniest person in the room, a Personality with a capital "P". We spent those formative years between adolescence and adulthood together--those crazy, wonderful years where you don't quite know what direction your life is taking, and you feel like you just graduated high school, but you've suddenly found yourself with real-ish jobs and bills to pay and you're like, oh shit, we're growing up. The years where you are figuring out who you are through the people you meet. Those years.

I don't have many great memories of life before age 25. But I can say with confidence that the handful of great memories I had all involved her and our group of friends. They were lights at the end of a very long darkness that pulled me out into the real world and showed me life, love, and a genuinely fun time--previously foreign concepts to me.

She had meningitis. For maybe three days. It moved fast and with reckless abandon. She was always the tall, strong one, so it's mind-boggling to me that a larger-than-life personality like her could fall victim to the cruel whims of fate and freak accidents, while I, a small and sickly creature, get to remain here. Her boyfriend broke the news. They were so in love. I can't imagine how he's feeling.

I'm flying back to LA next week for the memorial and burial. I don't really know the point of this blog post, except to serve as today's diary. Thank you for reading.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss Eugenie. You are not the only one who feels this way about death, personally I've noticed as I've gotten older (also a late twenty year old) how much more I rely on my friends emotionally. I'm glad you have the support of your true friends.

  2. I think for me, the coping mechanism I find the most reliable and least maladaptive is that of perceiving loss as a season, death as an autumn and grief as a winter which must give way to spring again eventually.

    As with actual seasons in nature, there are things to be learned about the world and oneself, that carry over from the cold into the warmth.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  3. Your writing is beautiful and consummate. I’m very young, but I often look at my life and think... there’s a tenth gone. In a couple years, there will be a fourth, maybe fifth gone (and that last fifth would probably be awesome but most likely also diseased). At the same time, I notice that I dwell on mortality when other things in my life are going badly. I realize that I really don’t give a shit about when I day when I’m genuinely happy and fulfilled. That helps me on days where I feel like nothing but an actively rotting specimen— that it’s simply a mood sourced from other sadness and negativity and not some inherent truth. We are mortal, but nobody cares until it hurts. That’s why we’re not all emotionally distraught at every instant in our lives past age ten.

    All I really mean to say is that this fear is an illusion— it is a manifestation of negativity in all its forms.

    Forgive me if I’m misrepresenting my own anecdotes as your own experience.

    I hope you the best,