Tuesday / March 22 / 2011
Life is fragile: today I celebrate Tina Fonzo
Without wordsmithing, I simply say, “Happy birthday, Tina.”
Today marks the day Tina Fonzo came into this world 41 years ago. She left it when she was 16.
[CLICK to listen to the song Forever Young, from Alphaville’s debut album also called Forever Young (1984) — one of Tina’s favorite groups.]
I believe we are souls who have bodies. Not the other way around. My Mom reminds me of the reassuring words I spoke at my Grandfather’s wake to my then 4-year-old sister, “That’s not Grandpa. That’s just the costume he wore while he was here.” I was ten.
So as I immersed myself in a good cry last night, I marveled at all the things Tina must be doing now. Right where she is. As opposed to speculating who or what she would be if she still had her earthly body.
Don’t get me wrong. I have complete lack of understanding of the “whys” and won’t portend otherwise. I was in the same car that swerved off the road into that tree and for 24 years, have grappled with countless “whys” and “what ifs”. When you share someone’s final moments, something births in your soul that connects you to that person in a very intimate way. Forever.
I will forever be connected to Tina. She touched my heart and life at a time when I needed her. I hope I did likewise for her.
Being back “home” has been therapeutic for me. One of the “whys” I can’t explain is why I survived and she didn’t. But I no longer feel guilty for doing so. I’ve had an awakening of sorts. A reconnection to home, to friends, to family. Reengaging with many I went to grade school with has reminded me of the unique connection we all share. A bond that cannot be broken no matter the years or heavens that come between us.
I am grateful to count Tina Fonzo amongst my most cherished friends. And today, I celebrate her life.