Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of a departed friend, one of those kinds of days when we find ourselves drifting off into odd bits of memories of times long past. When we were younger, freer, bolder. When thoughts of illness and age and death never really seemed real. And the future was ours for the taking.
Sadly, the past few weeks have brought more loss. Last week we lost an old friend – a former coworker of my spouse – to metastatic cancer. He and his wife were the witnesses when we’d obtained out marriage licenses, and were tremendous helps as we pulled off our rather unique wedding & the party at our house the day before. They’d moved out of the area not long after our youngest was born, and we’d lost touch. In fact, reconnecting with them a few years ago was one positive about Facebook. It’s been hard to completely absorb from a distance. The week before, the director of the nonprofit that I’d worked with passed away after a brief illness. He was a good man who wanted to make the world better – and had the drive to make that happen. He was also too young. The nonprofit will continue on, but the loss to his family and community is immeasurable.
As our own parents aged, we saw them losing friends along the way. I think we are just now coming to terms with how they must have felt.
So for all of the above, and for all of my friends and family facing losses of their own, I leave you with the single best descriptor of loss that I’ve come across.
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”
― Lemony Snicket, “Horseradish“
Rocky Mountain National Park, September 21, 2018.