Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cricket LaStrada ~ An Angel Among Us

She was named Linda. But somewhere along the way, she became Cricket. As in Jiminy. As in Pinocchio's conscience. That's who she was. From very early in her life, she was the person everyone went to for guidance, and encouragement, and love. Lots and lots of love. The woman was fierce in her beliefs. And they were all grounded in heart. No one was ever more committed to making life better for those around her. She worked diligently and tenaciously for the Gay community, for the rights of AIDS victims, for teen-aged gay/lesbian suicide prevention, for abused women and children, for people with disabilities (which she called "gifts"), and for her family. ALL of her family.

Cricket and her wife adopted SEVEN children, four of whom came in one package. Sisters who were in foster care. They didn't want those girls to be split up. So...they adopted all of 'em. Their son, Thunder, was also in foster care. Then there was Ari, who came to them as a result of a familial situation that needed them. Daniel, their autistic son, had been with them from the beginning. In all, SEVEN little Beings who needed them. Can you even imagine????

For me, she was Big Sister, Protector, Coach, Sage. She hunted down the bullies who picked on me and put the fear of god in them. "You will NOT mess with my little sister." She made me feel safe, all through my school years, and beyond. It was in the sixth grade that she took the job of softball coach for the summer park league. She took her job quite seriously, and turned me into an MVP several years in a row. She taught me to "take ONE SECOND", plant my feet, and THROW. She taught me that my size didn't matter. That it was all about heart, and focus, and commitment. She was tireless. And she made every one of us believe that we COULD be better. Every day.

When I was thirteen, she taught me my first guitar chords. She LOVED music. She loved to sing and play and she made sure that all the kids had an instrument. From tambourines to tom-toms, everyone got to make  music. Her love of music was the driving force behind me, for more years than I can count. She called me a "star"...and she meant it. She never once doubted that I was "better than good enough". She  made me believe I could. Every day.

When I moved away, she was my constant supporter. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and ignore the naysayers. She was there for me, through every disaster, every trial, every misstep. She did not judge. She simply loved and tried to teach me how to love without condition. Her words, for all these years of my life, still echo. At precisely the right moment, they'll float up from my memory banks and guide me to my truth. She was, without question, an angel among us.

Cricket left the planet a few days ago. Her arduous journey has now come to an end. She left us with a giant hole in our world, a gap that will never be filled. But she also left us with her kindness, and her wisdom, and her enormous capacity to love. She did the best she knew how, and she did it with every fiber of her Being. She may have left the Planet, but she is not gone. She is here, all around me, whispering and giggling and urging me on.

She was my first hero.

She is my Sister.

Ti amo, Sorella Mia.

Volare con gli angeli.
{fly with the angels}


Bruce said...

Wow, your sister sounds amazing. I'm so sorry for your loss... The world needs more people like Cricket. I wish I had known her.

Michael L. Burts, Sr. said...

Mama Cricket has been a spirit of love and life. Her expression of feelings was so real and honest, you were just drawn into her. She has helped to model my preception of life in Vermont which has helped me to love The Green Mountain State as well as the diverse occupants.
It was a blessing helping to give her tips on raising children of colour. I don't think I will meet another kindred spirit such as hers. Be blessed as she will bless your thoughts as you learn of Mama Cricket and the life she has given to people to share.