Today, I am joining hundreds of other people in grieving the loss of my incredible friend, Clara Jordan-Baird, who passed away suddenly and tragically this week. She was 28.
The truest thing I can say about my friend Clara was she did nothing by halves. She threw herself wholly and passionately into everything, most of all her relationships with friends and family. She’d travel half way across the city and back to bring you a baked good she really wanted you to try. She remembered every birthday. She mourned when you mourned, and celebrated your successes with unbridled joy.
Clara was brilliant, genuinely brilliant, but it wasn’t her brilliance that was her most notable characteristic. Not even her enthusiasm, though she had enough for a thousand people or more. It was her goodness. She was endlessly kind, endlessly empathic, endlessly decent. She believed in the best in people. She believed things would get better. She believed the arc of history bends towards justice but, more than that, that it is our job to bend it. And so everything she did bent it a little further.
She loved without reservation or hesitation. She loved wholly.
The world will be poorer for the loss of her voice, standing up for those who had none. For her tireless work fighting the PaTH Internship Program. For her involvement in the Labor party and her belief in working together to make life better. For the leader she could have been and for the leader she was.
But it will also be poorer for the loss of her annual Fruit Mince Pie reviews and her geeking out over a new board game and her always-insightful takes on new TV shows or movies or books. It will be poorer for the loss of her excellent gift-giving and her passionate rants and her fondness for getting dressed up and doing something exciting. For her excitedly telling you about this amazing new cafe or restaurant she has to take you to.
She truly contained multitudes.
I selfishly hate that she never got to meet my daughter, whom I know she already loved. I hate that my daughter won’t get to grow up with her. I hate that she will never have a daughter of her own because I know she wanted that, and she would have been the most amazing mother.
It is cruel that she will never see the first female US President or Scottish independence or the end of the Turnbull government or how the High Court rules on the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite. Her faith that the world can get better endured through this tumultuous time in our history, and it is a beyond tragic that she will not be with us when we emerge into the light at the end of this tunnel.
Clara made everyone around her better. She inspired people to action and showed just how much you can do if you quit complaining and get to work.
I will miss you, my friend. I will miss wearing historical bonnets with you and I will miss laughing over the latest Bobby Schmuck sighting and I will miss board game talk and I will miss long conversations, late into the night, about politics and life and love and the future. I will miss the future we didn’t get to share together.
In short, I will miss you always.