Note: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, so any issues of tense or time are the fault of that.  I don’t have the emotional energy to spend the time updating such things right now; I hope you will forgive me that.  David nudged me today about actually publishing it, and I guess I might as well.  The (relative) anonymity of this blog allows me to be a bit more raw emotionally than I normally would.  Upon re-reading the post, I realized that it was exactly what I was trying to capture.

I was all set to write a somewhat self-righteous post this evening about the Williams Social Action Fund, the importance of donor choice, and the inherently political nature of ALL investment decisions (meaning choosing profit over the purpose of a company IS a political choice regardless of the terminology in which you wrap it).

But I won’t be writing that post tonight. I won’t be writing it because of the few minutes I spent this afternoon looking up what, how, where, and to whom packages can be sent to support soldiers serving in harm’s way. Taking those moments put me in mind of those that have been lost. We have this weird e-relationship, all of us here on Ephblog, so a lot of what we think about and feel is filtered, kept at a distance from one another. It is hard for us to really get to know each other, to share our feelings, to understand where each other one is really coming from. So this post is to attempt to not filter that, to let you all know how profoundly my thoughts were impacted by this little blog today.

I spent much of this afternoon and evening thinking about a fellow Eph, a young man whose life was lost far too soon. A young man whose goofy humor, friendship, loyalty, and sheer joy I don’t think I ever fully appreciated as he hung out in my common room or caused trouble in my entry: Nate Krissoff ’03. I have thought about him periodically, on Veteran’s Day and this weekend for the Fourth of July. I wonder how his parents are doing. More often, I wonder how his friends are, those that I knew well and I know loved him dearly. I remember the late, late nights when I finally encouraged him and other frosh boys (mostly swimmers) to move on out of my common room so I could get some sleep. A couple of his friends were in my entry when I was a JA, and there were three or four of them that hung around and did what 18-19 year-old boys do: drink, talk, laugh, quote stupid movies (I remember them quoting Swingers a lot), watch sports, etc.

When we lose someone so young, I wonder what else I should have or could have done to make sure that he knew what a special person he was. I didn’t keep in touch with Nate after I graduated. I heard bits and pieces about him and others over the years, but we weren’t close when he died. But I still sat here this evening and could not contain my tears and my grief at this life cut tragically short, of this waste of a precious person. And I think that I should do everything in my power to try to prevent anyone else from dying, and I think that I should do everything in my power to ensure that everyone serving knows that they are loved and special and supported and comforted.

We have had many discussions on EB about whether one can simultaneously support our troops and fervently wish them home and that their service was not necessary. We have wondered from an intellectual perspective, argued the opposing logic or philosophical conflict. We have distanced ourselves at times from the true danger that some people are in – perhaps we must distance ourselves. I am not writing tonight to wade once again into that thicket of recriminations and judgment.

My contemplative mood this evening also put me in mind of one of my own frosh who tragically died very young, although under very different circumstances. Shirin Shakir ’03 passed away in a rafting accident in Peru during her 2L year at Harvard. She was a dear, sweet person. Memorable for her striking beauty, her little giggle that brightened the room, for her desire to make a difference somehow. She, like many Ephs, held herself to very high standards, was very thoughtful, and had big dreams. I wonder who she would have become.  She was well on her way, having spent a great deal of time volunteering in her community and on legal cases.

So forgive my posting this evening in sadness, but at times I really do need to remember to step back and think about what is important. To remember how precious these moments are that we share together. I need to appreciate those fellow Ephs that I got to know, for however short a time.  Tonight I simply wanted to express that I truly, profoundly mourn those like Nate Krissoff and Shirin Shakir.

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