It’s as Simple as Something That Nobody Knows…

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Where to begin….

I could go on for pages and pages talking about how amazing Darah is, but everyone who knows her knows that she is a spirit and soul unlike any other. When reflecting on what I would write here I kept finding myself feeling very selfish with my thoughts and memories. As a therapist, I talked to a colleague about this as it made me feel uncomfortable…Darah would never be selfish!! After a long talk and a whole lot of validation (we therapists are so good at that) I was better able to understand my feelings. As time keeps going, and it feels like it goes so fast, I find myself holding on tighter and tighter to everything related to Darah. Pictures, saved texts and voicemails, and mainly my memories. I realized I am reluctant to share my memories because they are Darah’s and mine, something we still have, and I am not willing to let that go. With that being said, the goal of what I am writing is for everyone who reads this to think of a memory of you and Darah, something you hold near and dear, something that was just between the two of you. How lucky and privileged are we to have that? A thought, a moment, a joke, we are so lucky to be able to have these with such an incredible person.

Now, I am going against all better judgment and I am going to share something.

On Darah’s birthday I take Riley (my dog that Darah and I picked out) to the lake and just sit for a while. This year was different because I went later than usual and it was already getting dark. Just thinking, talking to Darah, and looking around, something caught my eye and brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I looked over and saw the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. In 2012, Darah came to Chicago for her birthday to visit.   We had an amazing trip…we went on a speedboat, went out to eat at delicious vegan restaurants, and did what we did best….laid in bed and talked (not to every be confused with being lazy).

During her visit I noticed an increased appreciation in everything from Darah! She refused to sleep with the blinds closed because she wanted to see the skyline every moment of the night. One day Darah and I took a speedboat architectural tour from Navy Pier. Darah then decided she wanted to go on the Ferris wheel. Now….this was not my thing…I’ve been on a roller coaster twice in my life and that was one time too many. Darah, in her fun-loving, adventurous way not only wanted to go on the Ferris wheel but also wanted to make sure she made a memorable experience. As the Ferris wheel got higher and higher, I got tense with fear, I told Darah how I was feeling (if she was telling this story she would probably say “then Kristen freaked out”). Darah then got a smile across her face and started rocking the cart back and forth until it was swinging. Within a couple seconds I was no longer sitting across from her, I was right next to her, holding her hand and yelling. Darah has always been so funny! The next thing I knew I had my phone out and we were taking pictures…clearly Darah’s rocking of the cart had calmed me down and I was present in the moment! Realizing how could this moment go by with us on top of the Ferris wheel without capturing it.

Darah had the incredible talent of bringing comfort to those around her. Amidst everything that she was going through at that time in 2012, everything she had already gone through, she was as adventurous as ever, laughed as loud as ever, and loved as much as ever. Inspirational is an understatement, Darah taught many of us how to live: be fearless, love unconditionally, live to better the lives of those around us, be grateful and appreciate everything, and never, NEVER, give up. That is something that we can all hold on to and practice. So, as I said before, I want to encourage everyone to think of a memory you hold dear of Darah. Think about how lucky you are to have the memory…it is YOURS!!!

And let’s all live our lives the way that Darah showed us how (thank you, Darah).

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Written by: Kristen Maltarich