We got word today that a former undergraduate student at Illinois, Tessa Oberg, died over the weekend of brain cancer. JM had her in a couple different classes. She was so beloved that I recognized her name, and I never even had her in class. Tessa was no doubt one of those students about whom my friends (her professors) spoke fondly, with dancing eyes. I'm sure my friends at Irvine, where she was working toward her PhD, speak about her in the same way. I figured out how to find her on Facebook, which led me to a blog that she kept while on a Fulbright in Brighton, England (now THAT award wasn't competitive!).
This woman, she could live. The last post on the blog (which she maintained until 2007) is her imagined death scene, recounting her life as it would have been remembered by her grandchildren. It details all the countries she wanted to have lived in and what a full life she will have lived. It's as eerie as it is lovely, as hopeful as it is matter of fact, and it ends with the words,
"What an amazing life she led," they will breathe, letting my dust go on the wind, into the sea, into rivers. "How she loved."
It's enormously frustrating and sad and awful to see all that life and love come to such an early end.