The last few days have been a whirlwind to say the least.Traveling, different time zones, seeing family I haven’t seen for years (some of them), and some whom I only see once a year, not getting any work done, procrastination, devastation, tiredness, the silvery sharpness of having your heart broken over and over and over again. Life, give me something to hang on to!
My dear cousin passed away a week ago today, after a brief and sudden illness surrounded by his loved ones in a hospital in NYC. He was 37.
Growing up I did not know Aaron that well, there was a big age difference between us, and we lived on opposite coasts, but that all changed when I moved to NYC after getting back from doing ballet for the summer at an academy in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Determined to “make it” as a ballet dancer [whatever that means…] I packed my bags and moved to NYC.
So there I was in the big apple, a wide eyed girl just shy of a teenager, who had everything under control…. that is until I dropped out of Joffrey three days into the program because I was upset not to have been placed in the highest level. [Very mature, I know.] I should have gone home, but I am not one to give up [on anything] so I stuck it out and tried to figure out how to survive.
My best friend at the time had just finished her Pilates mat certification at Dance New Amsterdam and recommended the program to me to help find a job. [You read that right, I could not get a job anywhere and I had no idea how to even look for one. Even to be a hostess in NYC at the time, you had to have New York experience, and there didn’t seem to be anyone interested hiring 19 year old princesses so I was fresh out of luck.]
So here comes Aaron in the story. He was very kind to me while I was in the city. When he found out that I was there, he immediately took me out to dinner and reminded me that I had family in such a scary unforgiving place. I ran into him, just randomly, in Chelsea one time and he yelled “That’s my cousin!” and gave me a hug. It was incredibly comforting to run into family on the streets of Manhattan.
One thing that he did for me which will always make me cry when I think about it, was when he helped me finish my student teaching hours for my Pilates certification. I had so few friends at the time that it was really hard to get people into the studio so I could practice teaching. He would come in to Dance New Amsterdam and let me teach him Pilates… even though I really struggled at it. What a patient cousin he was! The first time he came in, he wore this pink and white striped button up, and light beige pants and I only remember this because I felt bad that I forgot to tell him to wear workout clothes. He walked into the studio and all the other girls in my Pilates training program went silent and stared at him because he was so handsome and tall.After he left, the girls came up to me and asked me who he was and I said with a big smile on my face, “Oh, he is just my cousin.”
That is the kind of person he was, he would go out of his way to help other people, he always had a smile, and he would do it in style.
So how is it that he, someone who was very good, contributed much to the world, was kind to everyone, handsome for days, and just one of the best people I have ever known, could perish so suddenly and so young? All the catastrophes in the world can happen, but when one hits you inside your personal circle, it takes your breath away.
my breath is gone.
…..Because it seemed to me that he did everything right.
That moment when life hits and the realization that after all this time living under the impression that being an organized person, a control freak some would say, having control over yourself and your environment doesn’t exist. Things stop happening for a reason and just ….happen.
The piece that I am working on is a portrait of a person realizing that things just happen. A person who is grappling in the dark trying to find something to hold on to. A control freak living in a world where that word,
control, doesn’t exist.
Rosalia Lerner’s new work, Makes Sense will be premiered as part of the Feedback at the Joe Goode Annex on October 23 at 8pm. More information here.