Stories

Dawn of Birthday 29: In Remembrance & Celebration of Life

On this day 9 years ago, I gave a eulogy at the funeral of my best friend (and high school sweetheart), Santez Walker. The next day, June 1, was my 20th birthday.

I remember returning from Memphis back to St. Louis on my birthday–heavy-hearted–and entering my apartment where Erin and other friends had prepared a surprise cookie cake to try to cheer me up.

I still get emotional when I think about those moments. At the time, I thought celebrating my birth and life was unfair when his was unexpectedly and suddenly lost. I didn’t know how to appreciate my friends in the midst of my own jadedness about losing him. But in following years, I learned to honor the creative, daring, and loving spirit of Santez through my birthdays. I committed to making them a little more meaningful, a lot more creative (like him), and as full of love and friendship as possible. And for most of these recent years, I have kept this commitment because of you–my friends.

Thank you all who have celebrated past birthdays with me. You are my tribe, and your presence has meant more to me throughout these years than I have ever admitted.

I look forward to tomorrow, and I’m grateful for the reminder it brings to celebrate life, cherish friendship, and fill our lives with love/gratitude.

🙏🏾