Thank You

Hi, everyone. My name is Annie, and I’m the Founder and former President and Editor-and-Chief for Her Campus at SLU, the publication this article is posted on. I'm graduating from college with two degrees. I drink more San Pellegrino than water and I can’t write a formal email to save my life. This article is pretty gratuitous, so please be gentle on me as I say goodbye to college and to this publication.

At the end of my year-long term as President and Editor-and-Chief, I wrote a letter to the general body of HCSLU. I highlighted our Chapter’s immense impact and quantitative successes throughout its first active year. I had so many words to say and people to congratulate. Reading it back over now, I’m unsure really of what my goals were or how I really felt about her experiences. No matter how confusing it is to think about myself so long ago, I see strength and perseverance in the woman I was. If I wasn’t her, how could I ever be me? I am thankful for the woman I was. 

I see role models in characters like Annie (who, coincidentally, I share a name with) from Shrill. Annie writes until dawn, makes mistakes, and is constantly prioritizing her own growth and happiness. I’m thankful for Annie for showing me that we all will always be human.

I see role models in those around me. In my college roommates, past and present, I have seen and learned from how to give mass amounts of softness to those immediately around us. I am so thankful for their constant gentleness and their limitless capacity for laughter.

I am thankful for my cousin, Melissa. Melissa is the champion of decision-making. Her emphasis on justice and intentionality in conversation inspires me every day. A week away from her own wedding, she sat me down and gave me life advice. Melissa teaches me about being an advocate for myself and others. Melissa shows me how to say difficult sentences, express myself, and celebrate every small thing there is.

I am thankful for my sister, Nina. Her head has been screwed on the right way since birth, and she has never let an opportunity bring her down. When I was an infant and she was 5, my sister was literally a mother figure for me. She probably taught herself quantum physics while I threw up baby food. My sister stands up for herself in all of her relationships, and knows when to say goodbye to people that don’t serve her values. My sister is an expert at choosing her family, and she’s also an expert at being family. 

I am so thankful for my mom. I am so unbelievably thankful for my mom. I. Am. So. Thankful. For. My. Mom. My mom, Jo, shows love through action. She fills the fridge with fruit and asks if I’ve remembered to pencil time into my weekly calendar to have fun. She holds our dog down to give him ear drops and respects his non-verbally communicated boundaries more than anyone else. This dog has a lot of boundaries, turning him into essentially an oversized reptile with high-functioning paranoia. Jo shows up to everyone’s events smiling. She will do really big favors for you without being asked, is the best listener in the world and hates her own birthday. She gets these qualities from her mother, Jan.

On our holidays, my grandma Jan reads Hebrew. In these precious moments, she effortlessly turns all those harsh “ach” sounds into things both floral and feminine. She spins this angular language into song. In a few days, we will be losing her. This immense hardship has challenged my extended family over the past few months, and even more so since COVID-19. Sprawled houses over St. Louis were activated. My mother and aunts began cooking and cleaning and washing clothes and bringing supplies and providing meals for their mom. All of us began to fill her space with flowers and pictures, in the fight for any way in which we could keep her smiling. We are now, in this most brutal of all times, having to say goodbye from a distance and to experience bereavement in solitude. 

I am so thankful for Jan, my grandma. I see bits of her speech patterns in my mom and my sister. I see her joy in my aunts and cousins. I see her energy for life in myself, a practice I’m learning to nurture back into my life. I see her softness in my father, who will feed anyone at any time for any reason and especially for no reason at all.

Saying goodbye to grandma is terribly, terribly horrible for all of us. 

In our own ways, we are all grieving something right now. We are all losing time, space, and love the way we know how to interpret it. Everyone is struggling and every version of this struggle is worthy of being hardship. 

Thank you for reading this article and any article I’ve written until now. Thank you for supporting this publication that’s supported by a website that takes way too long to load. Thank you for supporting me throughout college and for however long you stick around. 

We’ll see what’s to come when it happens.