We never got to meet, and now it feels as though I will never be complete. I was one of millions, a girl who saw you in the paper and thought “That’s who I want to be.” You inspired with every breath you took. You will keep inspiring, even after your breathing has ceased.
You weren’t always the iconic RBG of legal and internet fame. You used to be Joan, the girl from Brooklyn who was smarter than all of the boys. You were also more than what we saw. A student. A mother. A wife. A great, shining mind. It will be a very long time before another soul as great as yours makes it into the world.
I read your biography when I was twelve years old, unsure yet if I had the right to care about the law, if the Constitution was mine to read. I loved learning about you, about the love you shared with your husband Marty and the friendship you developed with Justice Scalia. Justices on the opposite ends of the spectrum, with entirely different interpretations of our nation’s document. And yet you both loved the opera. You were both incredible writers and iconic figures in the justice system. Both of you died at critical moments, at the end of a presidential term. We needed you. But I’m really glad two friends have been reunited, and that a wife and husband get to see each other again.
RBG, you never knew me, but I know that you had a personal trainer and did pushups every morning well into your 80s. You believed that a hot dog was a sandwich because, by technicalities, a roll could be counted as two slices of bread. Your logic was made from steel and your talent with a pen took you from your hometown to Cornell to Columbia Law to Washington D.C., sitting at the bench of the Supreme Court. Once appointed by President Clinton, you fought for us fervently.
If not for you, Justice Ginsburg, I don’t know what kind of rights I would have, or what kind of paths would have never been carved out for women. For people of color. For the LGBTQ+ community. You did right by us, until the very end. You beat three different kinds of cancer; this was your fourth battle. You did your job as a Justice from your hospital bed. You never rested, because there was more work to be done. Now, you get to rest.
I will miss you more than you know. I love you the way some people love their grandmothers or their favorite superheroes. You are the reason why I feel as though I can do whatever I want and be the best in whatever I do. And I’m so glad that your life was so momentous and so meaningful. Everybody had a soft spot for you, even the ones who disagreed with your points. Because you were easy to like, and so compelling to believe. So please don’t worry about us. America is going to be okay. You’ve done your job: you’ve inspired the next generations to be as bold and as unapologetically brilliant as you were. I love you.
Wholeheartedly and sincerely,
She shaped who I am. One of the greatest of all time.