Wednesday, March 23, 2016

For Sandy

Some people think I'm a broken record.  I keep returning to one topic, over and over.


Lisa Empanada.

She's been gone for two and a half years now.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her.  But, for as much Pain I still have from her death, someone has it far worse.

Her wife.  Her Soul mate.  Sandy Empanada.

I met Sandy on Saturday, August 4, 2012.  I wrote a blog entry about it.  It was the night I was arrested for DUI.

As the Darkness began to consume Lisa, I began speaking more and more to Sandy.  She had questions- "how is she feeling, really?"  "What does it feel like to be THAT depressed?"  And, most importantly, "What can I do to help her?"

After Lisa attempted suicide in April 2013, Sandy and I spoke more often.  We both kept tabs on how Lisa was feeling, etc.  Then, magically, she seemed to pull out of the Darkness.  There was the party.  All was well.  Both lisa and Sandy told me that they considered me family.

Then, in September 2013, Lisa killed herself.  I received a text from Sandy at 4 AM on the 17th.  Had Lisa contacted me?  No, she hadn't.  I volunteered to help search.  No, the police are on it.  Then...

I drove down to Baltimore as fast as could to be with Sandy- to help.  If I could.

I started a GoFundMe to help pay the funeral expenses.  Sandy and I kept in close contact.  Because she knew... she knew I would be next.  She saw the signs.  Her frequent messages of encouragement, support, and sometimes frustration, kept me going.  And I did my best to support her.

That was two and a half years ago.  Sandy had every right to turn away from the Trans community.  After all, her Soul Mate was gone.  Why remind herself of that pain?

But she didn't.  After some months, she attended a party at the Raven in New Hope.  She was treated like a rock star.  Everyone wanted to see her, speak to her, share with her.  And Sandy bore it all with grace and strength.

She has attended all three Keystone Conferences since Lisa's death.  She attends the Raven trans functions regularly.

Again, why?

Because the Community is her extended family.  And her best friends are Trans.

I like to think we helped share her overwhelming burden.  Only she can really answer that question.

With Sandy at the 2015 Keystone Conference

I don't see Sandy as my friend.  At all.  She is my Family.  She is my Sister.  She is blood.  Before I went full time, I worried that my parents wouldn't accept or support me (I was thankfully proven very wrong.)  I asked Sandy permission to take her surname in case I was disowned.  She happily agreed.  I didn't need to take that particular step.

Sandy has always given freely of herself to this community in general, and to me personally.

I can't speak for us all, Sandy, just for me.

Thank you for being my Sister.  Thank you for helping me through all that you have.  Thank you for being who you are.

I love you, sister!

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