The dictionary definition of perspective is, in simple terms, a point of view. More specifically it has to do with how the parts relate to the whole.
When I was very young, our house in Naperville seemed so big. The yard seemed huge. It also seemed back then that summer lasted forever, an hour of homework was a lifetime, and Christmas just took soooo long to arrive. That was my perspective of life. But I also had a very specific point of view of relationships too. In school, for example. The social structure was defined by powers beyond me. I was relegated to a specific social class from the start. All of us were. And once you were there, there was no changing. At least not until we all eclipsed the age of 40 and then those barriers all seemed to fade away.
Such was the case with a girl named Juliet. I was in a class with her more than once during our first 5 years of school, and our paths continued to criss cross up until the time I moved away the summer between 10th and 11th grades. I never really gave her another thought. I just wasn’t in her social class. She was pretty. She was smart. She was popular. She was an Arrowette, the elite in cheerleading. I was awkward, a wannabe jock, a tomboy, the very antithesis of Juliet. She even had a pretty name. From my perspective, this girl, and the others like her, had it made. I didn’t look far into the future back then, but if I had it would have written her story as success. She would go off to college, probably meet a super jock with a great future, get married, have beautiful children running around their beautiful home with a manicured lawn and live happily ever after.
But I don’t think that happened for her. I recently learned she passed away. She actually passed away a few months ago but no one knew it. The details of how or why she died are not being shared by her family. There are some suspicious facts that anyone who searches the internet can find. But in the end, there are just questions with no answers. And I’m sure as long as I live there will be no answers. I just have to be OK with that. But it’s left me wondering about my perspective, and how things change. From what I’ve heard, Juliet had her struggles. But she wasn’t supposed to. She was supposed to have everything. I can understand me having struggles; I didn’t have it all together back then. I struggled academically. I was never the elite athlete I saw in my minds eye and I knew it…even back then. It would make sense for me to have struggles and ups and downs (which I have, don’t get me wrong! I have had my struggles!!) But Juliet wasn’t supposed to suffer any of that. She was part of that social group that lived above the struggles. At least that’s what my perspective was.
What the news of Juliet’s death has done is for me just mind bending. I know that we never know how things will turn out for any of us. I know that where we were in high school really has nothing to do with who we will become as adults. But it’s hard to overcome those perspectives when they dictate so much of a young adults life. And I guess the only thing I can take away from all of this is to encourage my children not to live their young adult lives seeing the world as above them, like I did. Because it’s really hard to rationalize when someone “up there” faces the same day to day struggles as the rest of us.
I am sad about Juliet’s passing. I know from social media she leaves behind a little girl. I’ve found myself more than once the last couple of days thinking of Juliet and of her daughter. I will join my prayers to those who called her sister, daughter, friend…I pray for comfort for family, for answers, for wisdom in dealing with a little girl who just lost her mommy. To her friends that are now also my friends, I’m really sorry for your loss. Juliet was a girl I didn’t really know. I wish I had. Social rules kept us from knowing one another as teens and our paths never crossed as adults. Your memories are precious, keep them close. All I can do now is wonder what ever happened.