This post is a bit of a departure for me. Just so you know.
She would have been 35 today. Thirty five! Halfway through those "dirty thirties".
But she's not. At 28, she succumbed to an illness that people are just now declaring they should talk about and do something about.
All those years ago we met because of a mutual admiration of an old TV show. At first online, then in real life. We confided in each other; shared our secrets and fears. I didn't realize at first what a huge leap outside of your comfort zone that was. It took me some time, but I realized that I cared about you more than anyone else I had ever met. Enough that my life goal was to be there with you and help put the past where it belonged. In the past.
Sadly (not just for me, but everyone) you were not able to escape the spectre of that past. I'm certain that I couldn't have magically fixed everything in a day. Probably not ever. But I am certain that together we could have slain enough of those demons to give you some breathing room.
I am still haunted by the notion of "what ifs" all these years later. If I had done this one specific thing, you'd still be here with us. It took me a long time to understand that just wasn't entirely true. But still, the feeling is there. It seems at times as if I have inherited one of your demons myself. Perhaps that is my punishment for not acting sooner.
Enough of my ruminations, though.
Happy Birthday, Sarah Jane, wherever you are. You changed my life for the better in ways I was never able to adequately thank you for. I had so many things planned for us. But most of all I just wanted to share my space with you and walk and talk with you. There was so much we could have learned from one another.