I have a special friend. We grew up in the same small town, and we lost someone who was important to us both. You might say that our relationship was tested through the fire of grief. We cried, we laughed, we danced. Then we left our small town on different roads, me to the city, him to foreign lands and back again. But I’ve kept track of where he is, and write a couple times a year. His presence in the world is a kind of marker for me~ a way to frame who I have been. It is comforting that we hold memories together. It is hard to express his significance in words.
And in a craptastically ironic twist, now he is leaving, too. He has been fighting, hard, for months, but his body can’t do any more. His eyes are still piercing, and so is his wit. (When his daughter asked whether they would keep his ashes in a vase he told her no, a butter dish.) His spirit is vibrant, but his breathing is labored. His doctors have told him it is time.
My faith says, and I do believe, that God has this. That it’ll all work out, in the big-E End. Everything will be renewed, restored, made right, holy, whole. All will be, then, “well with my soul.”
But right now? Every fiber of my being cries out with the injustice. I hate the broken-ness of our world. I abhor that disease can waltz in and feel entitled to whisk away someone who is not yet done living. I hate that my friend will miss seeing his children grow to adulthood. I hate that he will not have golden years with his wife on the porch. I hate the upside-down heartbreak of his mother, who will outlive both of her children. I hate that bad shit happens to good people.
When he is gone, he will leave a big, big hole in many lives. I will miss him. And it sucks.
(In Memoriam: JDG 12/17/71 – 07/17/2011)