“But it was just Tuesday… it was just Tuesday… it was just Tuesday…”
I kept repeating these words to myself as I laid in bed, staring at my iPhone in disbelief. Tears started to form at the inner corners of my eyes. I felt hollow. The last posts she had made were early Tuesday night on both Facebook and Twitter.
“SHE WAS JUST HERE!” I screamed inside. “How can she be gone?”
It was Thursday night and I was doing my final check-in on social media before I went to bed. I read the news from a post made by a student of hers on her Facebook page. She had such a great rapport with her students, both current and past, so I wasn’t surprised she was Facebook friends with many of them. I joined them in their disbelief and sadness that night.
Rachel is gone.
I met Rachel Trithardt on November 9, 2014, at a Lethbridge Tweet-Up at Moxie’s. I don’t remember much of what we talked about that evening, though I bet it was the usual small talk and pleasantries most people revert to when in a room full of strangers with Twitter handles. One thing we both had in common was that we worked at the college — she was an ESL instructor, and I was the administrative assistant for the library. Later that night, probably while in bed before I went to sleep, I made sure to follow everyone I met that night — including Rachel.
After the Tweet-Up, I kept an eye open for Rachel while on campus. We’d bump into each other while in line to buy Indian tacos for a FMNI club fundraiser or while gathering before going out for a winter walk with fellow college staff. Unfortunately, times like these were very rare because she was often in the Andrews building and I didn’t stray too far from the library. Thankfully, Twitter filled in the gaps.
I left the college for a new job in March 2015 and I did not see Rachel in person again after that. Instead, our friendship grew through our interactions with each other on Twitter, Instagram, and eventually Facebook. The more we spoke to each other, the more I found we had in common:
- We both loved the show Community (season 4 not so much), and agree that Joel McHale is #perfection.
- I’m dead set on #sixseasonsandamovie, and she was happy if there was just a #seventhseason (but she said she had a good idea for a movie.)
- Other shows we loved were Gilmore Girls and Corner Gas,
- We complained about #yql drivers.
- She’d make fun of dumb things I’d complain about, like how I hate it when people only spell my name with one “N” instead of two.
- We both got twitchy for our red pens when we saw bad grammar.
- We appreciated a good thunderstorm. #thunderbolts #lightning #notveryveryfrightening
- We lived in “the best neighbourhood in town” (her words) #Lakeview
- We agonized over how loud Whoop-Up Days was since we lived so close to the Exhibition Grounds. She lived closer, so I had no right to complain.
- We believed if someone says they are bored in Lethbridge then they must be boring.
- We loved PostSecret.
- We thought the idea of a pizza with extra cheese and extra mushrooms was heaven.
- We both used to be on LiveJournal.
- We could not wait for Bed, Bath & Beyond to open. It took FOREVER!
- We both loved Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence.
- We shared a love of stationery/office supplies. (Staples!)
- We disliked taking selfies.
- My husband and her fought control over a nearby Pokemon Go gym this past summer. He was Team Mystic, she was Team Instinct.
- We both got copies of Joel McHale’s book because we just couldn’t resist.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a friend who I could relate to as much as I did with her. My husband tells me that is the reason why I’ve taken her passing so hard. There is a part of you that goes away with the loss of a person you connect with. Big or small, your life changes with their passing and it can hurt far more than you would ever expect.
I’ve experienced loss before, but it’s mostly been older relatives that I was not close to, and their passing was not as abrupt and unexpected. There was no time to prepare and say goodbye. It definitely makes you cherish every day you have with those close to you more than you did before.
If you can, please donate to The Kidney Foundation of Canada in memory of Rachel.