“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.”
— Elizabeth Wurtzel R.I.P.
What I imagine heaven looks like…
Lizzie and Augusta, 2003.
Anniversaries creep up on you so quickly.
Almost out of nowhere, it feels like.
Even with all the past deaths that I’ve experienced and felt oh so immensely, this one completely takes every single horrible cake imaginable. I remember January 7th, 2020 clearer than most of my memories. It was the early morning and I had just laid my head down to sleep. I found out via a tumblr post of mine with a reblog that had the tag “rip” - three letters. So simple.
Yet the weight of those tiny initials crushed my entire being. My world was obliterated, every piece a casualty. I couldn’t have google-searched her name fast enough. TNYT, the first to report. Elizabeth Wurtzel dead at 52. I screamed loud for just my pained soul to hear. Then came the wailing repeated cries of “Lizzie, no, no, no, Lizzie, no” it was as if I was physically pleading beside her hospital bed, hopelessly begging her not to go.
The instant in-denial.
Nobody was around to comfort me.
No one in my life knew the gravity of this immediate trauma and exactly how much this loss changed everything. The rare, shining, manic depressive, recovering addict and cancer ridden example who made it out to the other side. Surviving against every odd. My most human idol. Being Jewish made her victim to a specific cancer gene, it developed in her breasts.
Unbeknownst to us fans, it ultimately spread to her brain and despite multiple surgeries, it was too late. The god awful irony that her mental health didn’t succeed in taking her life. But that her brain still killed her anyway. I think she’d find a middle finger strength in that though. Her seemingly life-long battle with mental illness that made her famous.
It didn’t win.
It never won.
Just among the many reasons as to why I will never not take her absence to heart. She was the only idol in my life on whom I interacted with dozens of times, albeit virtually. Despite her universal label and poor judgement call of narcissism. She was incredibly humble and beyond kind to me. She only ever lifted me up, vice versa. I had what was once a realistic but maybe naïve dream of meeting her at a book signing in NYC someday.
Just so I could finally tell her in person how much she impacted me and gave such tremendous power to my inner strength. While I can say that I told her everything I could possibly ever want her to know, I’d still give anything in this world to have that dream come true. I need her embrace more than ever. She once told me, “Don’t give up before the miracle happens."
I was convinced that I’d see that miracle with her.
A year later, I’m still holding onto her every word until I reach that miracle. Because Lizzie, I love you with all my heart. I’ll miss you until my own dying breath. And I will always shamelessly think of your happy Alistair…and Arabella…and okay, Jim, and even your mother.
Give Augusta a good pat for me.
I thought he was a pretentious fuck who went on for 2,460 pages.
And Elizabeth Wurtzel said the same.
But he may have been right.
“…I don’t feel that awful, but I feel very apprehensive. Apprehensive, as in: a bad moon is rising. As in: I am about to crash… I know I am about to sink.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel, More, Now, Again
“I feel like plastic wrap being ripped across a serrated edge. It’s that sharp and painful.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel, More, Now, Again
“None of us are getting better at loving: we are getting more scared of it. We were not given good skills to begin with, and the choices we make have tended only to reinforce our sense that it is hopeless and useless.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women
Homesickness is just a state of mind for me. I’m always missing someone or someplace or something. I’m always trying to get back to some kind of imaginary somewhere. My life has been one long longing.
People told me not to mark up my books.