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A wand raised in farewell

Saira Valley

Posted on July 02 2019

A wand raised in farewell

Today is a sad day. 

I was on a zoom with my sister, chatting about Facebook ad's and my friend sent me a message to see if I had heard that a former colleague of ours had died. As soon as she said her name my heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. 

Vanessa Neimeyer wasn't a close friend of mine, but we bonded over our mutual love for movies, entertainment and of course, Harry Potter. We had a few late night chats about her adventures in casting, how hard it was but how rewarding. I asked her for help as I was thinking about pursuing a career in entertainment and she shared openly her advice, her stories and her incredible zest for life. I would often see her posts pop up, they were so authentically her and I always smiled. 

She never made any apologies for her independent, pure and bold spirit. She was someone I admired because she just was who she was. And she didn't ever make any pretense to be anyone but that. A lesson we can all take something from. 

When I read the article that she had been killed by someone trying to escape police apprehension, and this person then crashed into her home where she slept in her bed and took her beautiful life, I wept. I found myself sobbing. Even though we weren't close, she was a human being, someone who had her whole life ahead of her, someone who had touched my life and given me hope when i needed it, and often her posts reminded me how important it was to find joy in life, and to make time to LIVE it. She didn't deserve to have her story end this way. 

I think what struck me so hard was the fact that just a few hours before she died she made an Instagram post about July 4th, and just a day ago I thought I should message her to say hi and see how her trip to the Harry Potter ride opening went. I didn't. I thought, I will message her later. Later will now never come. She had no idea that when she laid down to rest last night, it would be her last. 

This morning, before I heard the news, I was stressing out about airfare for a trip I need to take. I was kicking myself for falling asleep and missing out on a $100 deal. 

Who gives a fuck about that. I mean really. And yet, how many of us spend hours upon hours a day, 100's maybe a month dwelling on this kind of nonsense? All of us. 

Perspective. 

Life is not forever. Next moments are not guaranteed. Only this one. Right now is the one we can count on. Be purposeful. Be mindful. Be grateful. Be present and be joyous. Be free of stress and judgement because I will never ever in my life forget Vanessa. I will never forget that she was full of life, she loved to live. And that right was taken from her by someone else, and by something totally out of her control. 

Our life is to be treasured. To be cherished. Our friendships should be tended to and cared for. The feelings we have should not stay silent feelings, we should share them. I wish I had told her how much her conversations meant to me. I wish I could say, Vanessa I applaud your free spirit and your drive and dedication to adventure. I wish I would have told her that in my darkest hour, one passing chat made me smile and reminded me of life's endless possibilities and hope.

All that any of us can really hope for is to leave a legacy of positive influence behind us, that somehow in someway we have an impact and leave a mark. Vanessa no doubt achieved that. 

Today I am sure I will cry, and mourn the loss of a wonderful person. I will pray for her family and her friends and loved ones that they find some peace and healing in time.

I hope Professor Snape was there to greet her when she arrived in Heaven. Rest in peace fellow Slytherin. 

XOXO

Sai

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