Emily Miller: Maggie


Emily (left) & Maggie

She was tall and thin with short brown hair reaching just to her ears, and she had the prettiest hazel eyes I had ever seen.

“Hi,” she said “I’m Maggie!”

My nine year-old self was quite astounded by her excitement and outgoing personality. That summer was spent playing in the pool and running around our beloved camp. That was the beginning of many summers spent together.

As each summer passed, we only grew closer. Maggie’s hair turned long, and her previously tall stature became short when she stopped growing; but her fun and crazy personality never changed.

I remember the last summer I spent with her. Despite her frequent panic attacks, she was always entertaining. We joked about boys and sang our favorite show tunes louder than ever. It was our last year as campers, and we wanted to make the most of it. When it was time to say goodbye, we cried; but we knew we’d talk on the phone and see each other soon.

“I love you,” I said.

A few months later when my boyfriend cheated on me, I called her crying.

“He’s not worth it,” she said to me. “You’re beautiful and wonderful, and he doesn’t know what he’s missing.”

“I love you,” I said.

That spring we were reunited at a youth group convention. We stayed up all night joking and laughing and making prank calls. I can still hear her loud contagious giggle echoing through the room. I felt just like camp. When we finished laughing she said to me,

“I tried to kill myself this year.”

I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.

“I love you,” was all I could say.

We lost touch after that. Maggie lost touch with all of us.

On January 17, 2012, I got a text from my friend.

I need to tell you something.”

Is everything okay?”

Just meet me after class.”

Something felt terribly wrong, so right as the bell rang I ran to my friend. Her eyes were puffy. Her face was red.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s Maggie,” she choked “she overdosed.”

My heart stopped.

“Well is she okay? Is she in the hospital? Can we call her?”

“No, she died this morning.”

I cried all night. 

The funeral was heartbreaking. There were so many people there. She had so many friends. She was so loved.

How could you leave us?” I thought. “How could you do this to all these people?”

It took me a while to understand why she did what she did. She was in so much pain. While I wish more than anything that she were still here, I’m glad she’s not still in pain.

I wish we had stayed in touch. I wish I could call her. I wish I could say,

“I love you,” one last time.

Emily Miller: Dear Grandpa

While The Recovering Politician is dedicated to making the most of our second acts, we’ve usually focused on the second (or third, or fourth) acts of adult professionals.  We’ve ignored literally the second act of most everyone of us — the act of leaving home for college or adulthood.  Until now.

Our newest Friend of RP, Emily Miller, started Miami University this fall; and she will be sharing her thoughts about this awesome, scary, exciting, bewildering transition.  She’s a very insightful, thoughtful, and eloquent writer.  And she also happens to be The RP’s oldest daughter.


Dear Grandpa,

You were here for such a short part of my life, and I missed you during so many of important events. You could have watched my failed attempt at trying to play basketball, and you could have listened to Daddy and me play guitar together on the holidays. I would have loved having you read an Aliyah at my Bat Mitzvah while watching me grow into an adult in the Jewish community and in the world. I missed you at my high school graduation, and I should have been able to call you with the news that I was going to attend Miami University.

While I begin this new chapter in my life, I have been reflecting on my past. What did I learn during the past 18 years that prepared me for college? While specifically reflecting on the past year, I realized something that I learned from the death of a good friend; let the ones you love know how much you appreciate and cherish them.

When you died, I was much too young to understand the importance of this idea, and I never got the chance to tell you about the big effect you had on my life. It might be too late to tell you now; and whether or not these words reach you, I am hoping I can at least honor you by showing people the great influence you had on my life.

There are so many things that you did for me for which I am eternally grateful, but when I think about how you inspired me, two big things come to mind. The first is your love of books and literature. Thank you for always reading to me and insisting that I learn to read myself. I could always count on a stack of books being there when I came to visit. Thank you for assuring me that I would some day be able to read fluently and not letting me give up when I struggled. I didn’t believe you when you told me that some day I would enjoy reading, and I could not believe that anyone could do such a thing for fun. Not every child gets the enriching opportunity of constantly being read to, and I am so thankful that you provided me with this. I know people to this day who do not enjoy reading, and I feel sorry for them because they are truly missing out on a wonderful gift. Thank you for this gift; my love of literature is all thanks to you.

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Emily Miller: Dear Grandpa