Lasts Beyond Lifetimes
The day after Memorial Day, I learned some saddening news that one of my friends who I met in Honolulu had passed away. He was just days shy of reaching 40 years old and while we hadn’t really connected in years, there was piece of me that still felt that heavy pang of loss. It was uncomfortable and even though the spiritual side of me said, “There’s nothing to fear, he’s safe.” I still couldn’t help that primal feeling that comes when someone disappears from your life.
This particular person happened to help me through my darkest days living in Honolulu. He reminded me to enjoy life and make the most of the hard times. There were countless evenings where he’d bring me out of my shell and teach me all the tips and tricks to playing pool. All the while being a wise and compassionate soul. He helped me find enjoyment in my college experience.
The wisest thing he imparted on me was a very, “Fuck the haters” attitude. At the time I was living with a roommate who loved tearing me down. I had dropped 40 lbs from stress alone, I was losing hair, and grinding my teeth. All the while he continued to invite me out and laugh with me, help me find the good in the situation. Do what you need to do, and don’t let anyone bring you down because of it.
Now he was gone. Not just out of my life gone but really gone.
While I had experienced the loss of loved ones before, I had never experienced the loss of a friend.
I swallowed my grief knowing I had to at least get through the week all the while seeing posts from the many others he touched and who loved him. I saw many beautiful tributes and condolences and posts of confusion and sorrow and joy and peace. I felt like I could hold it together, but that Friday my heart broke all over again. “Happy birthday in Heaven.” I found myself writing. 4 days shy of 40, and he was sent back to the Universe.
I found myself holding back tears and feeling exceptionally prickly for the rest of the day.
Even in my grief I found such beautiful signs being sent my way. A cubs shirt here, a bald head there, a similar laugh off in the distance, dreams of just sitting and talking, a jeep blasting music on the stereo about love.
See, even though I’m sad, even though my heart still feels sorrow, I’m so blessed that I am able to be open to the constancy of life. We all grieve a little differently, and that’s ok. I happen to be accused of too much disassociation but the reality is, I’m in constant contact. I’ve heard his voice respond in my head. I’ve felt his hug, I’ve listened to him tell me, “I’m ok.” more times than I can count.
So while I may seem distant when events happen, I do still feel them, and I feel how others feel them. Today I sit letting tears flow and sitting on the beach re-evaluating my relationships. Do my friends know I love them? Does my family know?
Even in his passing, he’s still imparting wisdom.
Just love. Be kind. Smile as much as you can and if you need to cry go ahead and cry. The range of the human experience isn’t limited to just good or bad, there’s the beautiful in-between. In the end though, there is only ever love.
If life is measured by how much you love, then I consider his life a life well lived, and that is the most beautiful thing to know.
So when you’re faced with loss, after you go into your inner-ocean and discover which feelings are yours and which feelings belong to other people, ask yourself if you loved them. There’s a very good chance the answer is, “Yes.” You can then tell them through prayer or ceremony that they lived a life well loved. That is all the reward.
We are not measured by our stuff. Our value isn’t measured by how much money was in the bank account or how long or fast we lived. When we cross on, our life is measured by our capacity to show love, compassion, understanding, and sharing that with other people.
After reading so many beautiful tributes to him, I know that this is the case.
Please do not feel sorrow for life well loved. Please do not feel that love for any reason stops just because a physical body expires. So long as you loved you will be loved.
So long as you love, peace will always follow.
With never ending love until we meet again among the stars,