Sometimes a situation in life sends you searching for “the words” but they don’t always come when you need them. This is true for me right now, in this moment. So here are some words, which are long lost cousins of “the words” that I can’t seem to locate, bear with me.
I’ve been unbelievably lucky in this life to be encircled by incredible humans that I can humbly call my friends, and out of them all, he was one of my most favorite friends of this lifetime.
He easily earned a place in my heart because he didn’t withhold one single aspect of himself from the moment we met. He was gifted at “holding space” for those he cared about long before that term even existed, and yet on the opposite end of the spectrum we had all the fun… we didn’t leave any spare fun lying around, ever. His friendship was unique, never to be replicated much like his personality, heart, and character.
I got the news that he was gone and immediately deflected even the concept of such an idea. My internal dialogue simply said, No.
As reality began to seep into my consciousness I started to feel unrelenting urges to hear the sounds of our youth. The music. Our friendship was long and stretched back many moons so I needed to have those songs that had trapped a thousand memories of our lives into their backbeats like an audio time-capsule.
In the same sentiment as “My grandparents went on vacation and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”… “You are gone and all I am left with is a meticulously crafted soundtrack of our friendship”; so I play it loudly and I play if often because it’s easiest to find him there. Pictures hold his smile along with the flecks of color in his eyes, and letters written long ago capture his handwriting but I already know those things, even with my eyes closed.
The thing about friends is that we hold one another’s history. We are the keepers of each other’s memories through stories, pictures, and text. Memories that we ourselves may have long since forgotten carry on in the hearts and minds of others.
A sage friend recently said, “In order for there to be grief, there must first be profound love.” In grief it’s hard to see through the sadness to the other side, which is gratitude; gratitude for having known that person in the first place, for loving them so hard that when they take their leave from this world it forever alters yours.
The reality of profound grief is that to achieve it you must have first given your love uninhibited to another person. It is the epitome of a double-edged sword.
Profound grief is a special kind of grief. It’s the kind of grief that leaves you a sobbing mess in the airport or in the produce section at the grocery store. It’s the sort of grief that actually cripples you, unable to get up off the couch for days on end, swimming in a sea of saturated tissues. It effortlessly pierces through tough exteriors and draws vulnerability out to the surface, usually at the most inopportune times.
In the midst of all that profound grief is normal life; the going to work, running of errands, paying of bills, cooking of food, and caring for family. It’s tough when you need all things in time and space to stop, but they don’t.
If I had a wish right in this moment it would be that my emotional state could be shared with every person I interact with in a given day via telepathic message, but not just for me, for all of us. Could you imagine how much more kindness and grace complete strangers would exchange if we had those sorts of insights about one another? There would be so much more hugging in the world. I don’t think any of us seeks pity, what we seek is empathy.
All one can really hope for in times like these is to “move through it” with relative speed before sadness consumes you whole. This is where someone could lose their way if they don’t allow themselves to feel that gratitude through the sadness. There comes a point in time when it becomes a choice to let the light back in or to remain shrouded in the darkness for the rest of your days.
Loving isn’t for the faint of heart, loving is for the brave and fearless. It takes courage to know and understand that when you lose someone you love a surge of heartbreak and pain will pass through every cell in your body leaving no part of you untouched, but yet, decide to love anyway.
In that regard, I suppose I count myself among the brave because my circle of people, my circle? They are worth every millisecond of sadness I’ll endure due to tragedy and loss along the journey of life, painful as it may be. Although, for the record, I would much prefer that everyone I care about outlive me.
Ultimately, loss is relative anyhow. People will say, “I’m sorry for your loss” when someone dies but I like to think that it wasn’t my loss, it’s everyone else’s. I was close to that person and truly recognized how incredible they were so I’m extremely sad, but it’s more of a loss for those who never got the opportunity to know them.
Here are some more -W-o-r-d-s:
I’ve always felt it important that even at a young age my daughter know and understand what makes a person beautiful. In order to explain it to a toddler, I first had to define it for myself, which took some real thought. She’s four-years-old now and in much the same spirit as she would recount the ABC’s she could tell you, “A beautiful person is someone who is Friendly, Fun, Thoughtful, Kind, Smart, Funny and Adventurous.”
In having misplaced the words I’ve been looking for to describe my friend who seems to defy the ability to be described, I fully know this; he was a beautiful person and some of the best times of my life were had when we were side-by-side.
To those of you in my circle near and far-
I don’t have the words, and maybe I never will.
Just Love… For all of you.