Today Mercy College’s English Department has its induction ceremony for the English Honors Society, also known as Sigma Tau Delta. Part of the ceremony is an award called The Valerie Z Lewis Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. I will be there to witness this, as I am and will every year.
Valerie was my girlfriend. She passed away very suddenly and tragically in January of 2013. Even after 3 years, the wound is fresh. I doubt that it will ever truly heal. Val was a fantastic writer, published in many literary journals, and a lecturer at Mercy. After her death, I compiled her published works into an anthology, where the proceeds go toward this award. Mercy is also considering setting up a lit magazine with some of the money. I know that Val would love that. She would be humbled, maybe even embarrassed, at the award, but she was always dedicated to her students. Giving them a chance to see their names in print, that’s something she would be proud of.
I have so much gratitude that they set up this award in her name. All people die, but something like this gives a slice of immortality. To be mortal, yet live forever. Can anyone hope for more?
I’ll be there, and I might cry. I’m always on the verge there. But I feel no shame. It hurts, it will always hurt.
Sometimes hurt is beautiful.