On page 16 of the Catalyst today, a simple memorial was published in the memory of two incredibly influential women in our campus community. With the announcement of Emily and Laura’s respective passings, we asked the community to submit memories of Emily and Laura to help us celebrate the passion that made these two such vibrant figures on campus.
The response from the community was overwhelming.
As much as we would have liked to publish every memory shared with us in today’s edition of the Catalyst, the multitude of responses couldn’t be contained within the finite amount of room we had– it would take 100 newspapers of memories, prayers, and laughter to even begin to reflect the positive impact these women had on their friends and families.
Below you will find all of the submissions we received as of Friday afternoon, March 28. I encourage anyone who wishes to add their additional memories to use the comment box below.
Jack Sweeney, Editor-in-chief
“I never got a chance to get to know Emily, but she still made a lasting impression on me within my first semester at CC. Sometime early this year, I was trapped at 7-11 with some friends while it was pouring rain outside. None of us had brought an umbrella or a raincoat or even worn jeans, so we were freezing and didn’t want to get soaked. Emily was there too, and as she left, she offered us a ride in her car. It was tiny and crammed with all kinds of weird, inexplicable objects. I so vividly remember seeing a Troll doll with no hair in the backseat and thinking, “this girl is awesome.” She drove us three minutes away to Slocum and dropped us off, and I never talked to her after that. But she did that for us unquestioningly, because she knew it was the right thing to do, and I won’t soon forget that.” – Alec Sarche for Emily
“The English department is going to miss Laura terribly; we already do. Her office is next door to mine, and while there are many many things I am going to miss about Laura, I can’t believe I won’t be seeing and greeting her every morning as I did when we were both teaching, both holding our cups of coffee and talking about how tired we were or how excited for class that day.” – Genevieve Love for Laura
“I was a Barista at Emily’s favorite coffee shop here in Delaware and had the pleasure of seeing her everyday. She wold hang out at the counter and chat with us for hours about nothing really, but it was always a highlight of my day. To say she was sweet would be the understatement of the century. She was a walking light, bright and beautiful, that you just couldn’t help but follow.” – Emily Hartman for Emily
“Wonderful light catcher, dance partner: the second I met you I knew you were magical. I pray your spirit is happy and peaceful, that your family and friends find strength and love. I miss you, little sun mirror, and I can’t wait to meet your shining light again, someday, when everything is beautiful. – Juan Arias for Emily
“I remember my friend and colleague Laura Padilla as a strong and tenacious woman. She was strong in her knowledge of who she was and where she was from and tenacious in not allowing anyone to take that away from her. She held on to her sense of self with dogged determination and resolve but also with integrity and grace. Laura never wanted to be defined by her illness. She would rather talk about what she was reading, or what she had just watched, than talk about her illness or treatments. Her mind was always active and vigorous. As ill as she was towards the end, she made the effort to come to campus to hear Zadie Smith read. Rest in peace, Laura.” – Rashna Singh for Laura
“I got to know Emily best when we auditioned for Sweeney Todd a few years ago. Being in a show with her was such an incredible experience. She brought this light and joy to rehearsals, even though her eyelashes were basically glued to her face. It definitely added to her character. After the show, whenever we saw each other, we would always take some time to catch up. We were not best friends, we didn’t hang out all the time together, but Emily made such strong connections with everyone she met that those brief moments we had were so fulfilling. I always left thinking that people like her are what makes the world worth it. She was always there with understanding, and never judged anyone for the struggles and challenges they were facing in their lives. She cared for people. She had a vested interest in helping other students who were dealing with mental health issues. She had such a vibrant personality and such a strong character, and the world is a lesser place without her.” – Sarah Lebovitz for Emily
“Laura was my first professor at CC and her presence in my life was and will remain a source of intellectual stimulation unlike any other. I will never forget many things from the three and half weeks I spent with her this past September but one memory sticks out in particular. “My job is not to answer your questions, but to respond to your questions with more questions,” she said one day in class. At the time, this felt like one of those things teachers love to say (i.e. “I don’t know, can you?”) but the thought stuck in my head, and it means more and more to me with each day I spend in college. Getting to know Laura changed my views on what it means to be an academic: she gave me strength as a student and showed me that the pursuit of knowledge is irrevocably linked to the acceptance of uncertainty. Despite the pain she was in in the fall, she was a warm mentor and friend to us freshmen, unwavering in love and support. I will miss her a great deal.” – Brian LeMeur for Laura
“I went to high school with Emily. She was a year younger than me, but we instantly cliqued from the first day I met her. We were extremely close all throughout our years of high school. I have so many countless memories with her from field hockey and art class together, but one memory that especially stands out is sitting on the floor of her basement with our two other friends. She had a really cool projector that would turn the ceiling into a green starry light show. We laid there, staring at the ceiling, listening to Iron & Wine, enjoying each other’s company peacefully. I would give anything to go back to that moment with her. I can’t remember the last time we even spoke. I feel so heartbroken. She was such a ray of sunshine.” – Sylvia Boyd for Emily
“Laura pushed me to question my view on English as a subject. Prior to coming to CC, I never viewed English as learning that could apply to my lifestyle. Laura provided me with a path which guided me to see the powerful influence literature can have on contemporary issues. As my first professor, she provided me with a completely different perspective on how education translates into the real world. I will forever be thankful for her kind presence and her warm heart. I will miss you a lot.” – Sidharth Tripathi for Laura
“I’m a friend from Emily’s home state of Delaware. I knew Emily for a very brief time before she went to college, and then in the times she came home to visit. We share many similar ideals regarding mental illness, and the awareness thereof. Still in disbelief, I can only take comfort in the many people in the CC community who have shared their memories, because Emily is someone who should be, and will be, remembered in the fondest light. I know she loved Colorado, but sometimes, the pain inside outweighs the beauty outside. I just wanted to express my gratitude towards CC, and GROW, both of which she spoke of fondly whenever she visited. This is a very tough loss that has been felt nationwide. Thank you for speaking so highly of her.” – Spencer Killian for Emily
“GROW felt off this week. Maybe because it was Wednesday instead of Monday, probably because I haven’t been as much this year as I would have liked, but most certainly because I have never been to a GROW meeting without Emily. I met Emily in Sacred Grounds when she was just a freshman, and I was a sophomore facing unexplainable boughts of depression and anxiety. I was afraid of myself and what I was feeling. After a number of weekly meetings I developed a friendship with this wildly optimistic and almost unnaturally energetic little first year, and was gifted one of the most valuable lessons of my life thus far. “Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish,” she told me, “It’s survival.” It seems almost ludicrous to me now to think how little I valued mental health care before I met Emily; mostly, I’d conclude, because she led by example. Most know her as an advocate on our campus, but I knew she walked the walk as she talked the talk. Above all else, though, she was genuinely concerned about the well-being of others. Emily never ceased to amaze me over the last few years, because I know that the last few years were some of the most challenging for her. Yet through her soaring highs and her deepest lows, she would turn our conversations back to my well-being, my struggles, and it wasn’t because she was trying to undermine the struggles she faced. It was because she genuinely wanted to know how I was doing. As many know, Emily was the Vice President of Student Concerns for CCSGA. I know that she faced her share of personal adversities while she held this position, but there is nothing more fitting than Emily, through it all, being officially concerned about the well-being of all students. I never thought much about that while she was here, but it certainly makes me smile now. Emily Spiegel’s unparalleled concern for others is the legacy she leaves our campus this week. Yet, every time I picture that smily freshman girl sitting cross-legged on the floor, I’m reminded that I wouldn’t be able to take care of others, had Emily not taught me how to take care of myself.” – Maggie Deadrick for Emily
“Skipping into the darkness, arms open, screaming at the stars” – author unknown
“Emily cared, she felt, she did more than many of us will do in our entire lifetimes. She was too big for her body, it couldn’t hold her huge soul. I like to imagine her flying free now, not weighed down by the silly body and brain that caused her so much pain. Whenever I feel the wind, I will think of Emily flying by, whispering laughter and advice, pulling me out of my meaningless bullshit, reminding me to appreciate the little things. Even if we can’t see her, I know she will continue to support and guide us. Girl was an angel, she decided she wasn’t meant for the physical earth anymore. And as much as I hate her decision, I will respect it and try to appreciate the time I had with her. But I will never stop missing her so goddamn much.” – Leona Waller for Emily
“I remember streaking at garden of the gods with Emily at 3:00 a.m. I remember taking her out to dinner at Stubens in Denver and connecting so deeply about our past relationships and talking about how we were going to be okay. I remember all the letters she hid in my apartment that I still find, including one that told me I could go back to Colorado Springs and be okay despite circumstances that made me terrified to return. I remember returning to the Springs with her and reclaiming CC as a place I love. She helped me through so much. I’ll never forget when she took her phone, put on the song “I Have Made Mistakes” by the Oh-Hellos and dropped it in my lap and walked away and it left me in tears. Half my music is from her. I could go on, I could fill a book of memories and descriptions of all she meant to me.” – Sam Smith for Emily
“I was a student in Laura’s FYE this year. She was my first professor at CC. While I may not have known her for long; I won’t soon forget her passion and warmth in the classroom. Realizing now the tragic severity of her condition whilst teaching our class; I deeply admire how she was able to teach with such dedication and positivity when such larger issues must have been on her mind. She was a wonderful professor and person, and myself and many others will miss her greatly.” – Eric Campbell for Laura
“I had the pleasure of working with Emily on a couple of films I directed a few years ago. She was one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I will forever cherish the memories I have of goofing off with her on set. She was so vibrant, so energetic, and so incredibly funny. My heart hurts because she is no longer with us, but I know that she will live on through all who were touched by her warm, gentle spirit.” – Anthony Spadaccini for Emily
Additionally, a piece written for Emily by the CCSGA can be found at http://catalystnewspaper.com/2014/03/28/ccsga-happenings-remembering-emily/