I remember the first time I heard you stand up to homophobia and toxic masculinity. You were 10 years old and your soul was about 50. I watched you grow from my best friend's little brother, tiny and toting your trumpet case, into a high school wrestler with an irrepressible sense of humor, into a deep and compassionate man who gave me hope for an entire gender and generation. I remember you as a beam of light brightening all of your sister's life milestones, and so many of mine.
Our last interaction was when you reached out last month to donate generously to activists in Myanmar. You reached out to me, not the other way around. You believed the world could be saved. That we, humans, could turn it around. You sent the money, for a group of people you don't know, to keep eating and fighting oppression.
Losing you feels senseless and unfair. I know you would never wish pain or heartbreak on your family or friends. But we can't be anything bit devastated. If you were here you would find a way to make meaning. You might even make us smile at this awful time. You would definitely start a mental health awareness campaign. Probably you would find something wise to say. And... you ARE here. At least I feel your presence so so strongly since the shock of hearing you were gone. You touched so many people. We're carrying you in our hearts. We'll try to do better because you believed it was possible.
Your life is a meteor in the sky above us, brief and so so bright. A work of art. A work of love. You lived beautifully. We miss you terribly. I feel your soul leaving this world. So good and pure. I see you like a butterfly, lingering around, circling to make sure your parents and sisters will recover from grief before transitioning to the other side. I don't know what's over there but I see you joining it, becoming one with a brilliant light, becoming so expansive that you are everywhere. I will carry your memory with me for as long as I live. Until we meet again.
May G-d bless you on your journey and give peace to your soul, Maddy. May G-d send comfort to your beloved family and repay them a thousand fold the love and kindness they always give to others. May we all be even half as good, loving, brave, kind, generous, funny, and wise as you.