There have been too many funerals lately of family and friends. Fortunately, all of them were in their 70s, 80s and 90s, and the community can talk about the full life they led, the family they created, the accomplishments they had, and the success they made of their lives.
But what do you say about an 18-year-old girl killed in February by a 77-year-old driver who lost control of their car during a rainy night in Jerusalem? That girl was Adira Koffsky.
Adira could have been your daughter, or your sister, or your friend, so consider yourself fortunate. It was not fortunate for parents, Ann and Mark Koffsky, and for grandparents, Lynn and Ed Koffsky. Lynn and Ed live in Toco Hills and, although they don’t have to sit shiva, the community showed up in force to comfort them.
The life summary of Adira Koffsky does not belong in the obituary section of this newspaper, for most of the people there lived long and, almost certainly, successful lives, and we can hear and read stories about what they did, the children they raised, the work they did and the accomplishment they had.
For an 18-year-old girl, the people who knew her have said she: was a writer, told fantastical stories, had a sharp intellect, a keen wit and sense of timing, a leader with an effervescent personality, an accomplished member of her local artist community with a tremendous voice and acting range, encouraged the hidden talents and capabilities of others, and shared her great love of her family. Clearly, this was a woman who had great potential.
This AJT writer knows what it is like to lose a young person just as their professional and personal life is about to move substantially forward: he lost a nephew in an airplane crash when the nephew was 25 years old; the nephew had a girlfriend he would have married and a Wall Street job that had great potential. This writer saw the devastation experienced by the family that lasted for years and can only provide support in some small way to the Koffsky’s for their loss.
In writing about Adira, it is best to let her tell you about who she was by letting you read some of what she wrote, for it reflects not just about who she was, but also about most of our children who want to achieve something important with their lives. This is part of a college essay Adira wrote.
“Being special must be the worst thing imaginable. In every book I’ve read, it’s always the special one who goes off on adventure, defeats great evils, falls in love, and saves the world…I want to be the Chosen One. I wanted to wake up one day to discover that I had this amazing destiny and secret powers and was meant to save the world from some mystical threat. But as I got older and thought about it, I realized how unrealistic it was. Me, the Chosen One? Sounds like the world’s worst joke. I will admit, part of the reason why I hate this part of literature is the fact that I know it’ll never be me. But the main reason for my disdain is that the world would have you believe that fallacy: you had to be born special in order to be someone of importance. Either you are given a life of greatness, or you’re doomed to a life of mediocrity. I began to realize that if I didn’t make something of myself then they’d be right. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s proving people wrong.”
To add to Adira’s insight, following the same idea that a few are chosen and the rest of us are just ordinary, here is the poem Adira wrote. Putting in it this newspaper assures her parents and grandparents that Adira is a published author.
A poem by Adira Koffsky
You’re probably expecting something dramatic, something ecstatic, something dramatic
To cry out your tears until you can’t no more. Thing is, my life’s kinda a bore:
I’m as normal as anyone could be.
I have good friends, and a good family.
With two legs and I use them to stand,
Five fingers on each of my hands. Want to hear about my life’s plans?
Of course you don’t.
That’s the curse of being happy:
No one knows a thing about me;
After hearing this, would you want to stay? There’s more interesting people not so far away.
Broken kids you think you can fix, and heroes you worship, add that to the mix;
And once you have this big, giant pit, Where do all the normal people fit?
I know, I’m being ungrateful, I don’t mean to sound so hateful;
It’s just, when everyone tells you you’re special
What do you do when you’re not?
There’s a moment in your favorite book where the troubled girl takes a look
At me and wishes she had my life, free of troubles, free of strife.
Then she carries on and it never comes up again:
The normal girl gets forgotten cause you’re not the main character,
You’re the life she longed for, a what if and nothing more.
Your fate was sealed long ago, so know your place and keep your head low.
Next time you see a normal girl, don’t walk away:
Make her feel special for just one day,
Because we want our own stories, but try as we might
Normal girls just don’t get the spotlight.
Many in the community didn’t know Adira Koffsky, but now they can say they have met. May we all see the great potential in all our children and know that this world will be just a little bit better because of them.