Namine recently had a few roles in her acting school’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. She gave me a panic attack, but that’s on me, not her.

The students in Namine’s acting school didn’t each take a single role during their play. Everyone took a few roles; Namine had a role at the start of a citizen inciting revolt, and she also played Juliet during her death scene.

She had climbed out of her wheelchair to sit down next to Romeo’s body for delivering her lines. She picked up the plastic dagger. “Oh happy dagger, this is thy sheath.” She plunged it into her chest. “There rust, and let me die.” With that, she collapsed into a heap. I frequently remark than my ten year old daughter is getting so big, but she looked so small, lying there on the floor.

There is something emotionally connecting about watching a play, as opposed to a movie. Whatever happens, it’s happening there, live, in front of you. Watching Namine act out Juliet’s death, I flashed back to all the times in the hospital when Namine’s life hung in the balance. I saw her tiny, unbreathing body as doctors unblocked her airway.

My vision clouded with tears, bringing me back to the present. It was just a memory, I told myself. Nothing to worry about, Namine is safe and alive.

In retrospect, yes, it was a memory. But it wasn’t just a memory. None of our memories are just memories; they are a part of us, making us who we are. They may be painful, but they are worth holding onto — even the ones that bring us tears.

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