Over the past four days I drove to Austin, Texas with a couple of my friends for a celebration of life for our late friend Genevieve Comeau. She is the victim of a domestic violence flareup that tragically ended with discharged firearms.
I didn’t have the privilege of spending as much time with her as I would have liked, but she was a very good friend right when I needed one. We met through my friend Mike while at the climbing gym but would end up hanging out with a group on Tuesday nights as well.
In December 2017 I visited Tucson at one of the most difficult moments in my life. Genevieve was known for bringing people together by hosting creative themed parties and she was holding one during that visit. I hadn’t been invited – I had been out of town for a year. Nonetheless my friends dragged me along and I remember how glad Genevieve looked when I arrived. She wasn’t shocked or surprised that I came, wasn’t upset; rather, she immediately smiled and told me how nice it was that I could make it and started asking how I had been and what adventures I had been experiencing.
A similar thing happened when I returned to Tucson recently and again I felt like a VIP guest when she greeted me. She was a person who always invited you along, a brilliant scholar and thinker, and loved by so many. She was working as a PhD student to better understand the spread of the Zika virus and certainly would have ended up preventing all sorts of anguish around the world from her research.
I’m still recoiling from the horror of what happened and am grateful for the opportunity to make it out and find some closure through the memorial last night. The unforgiving nature and zero tolerance afforded by firearms turned what may have been an awful moment into an irrevocable nightmare.