Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fly away in the morning

On Thursday, a friend of mine was killed in a horrific auto accident just two days before her 36th birthday. To lose someone in such a sudden and tragic way, with so much of life still ahead of her seems like the work of an unjust God. What makes the loss worse was that her five-year-old daughter survived the crash thanks to a miracle and her car seat. While the little one's minor injuries are healing well, she and her dad must now follow a difficult road without Mommy, just at the moment Mommy is most needed.

Four difficult condolence letters later, I have been thinking about finding oneself in the position of grieving for a friend, or perhaps grieving for the people my friend left behind, and what loss can mean when you are not in the immediate circle of the bereaved, how ripples of grief can course through friends of friends and connect us even thousands of miles away. The Village Voice published a wonderful blog recently on coping with the death of a friend. The writer Andrew W. K. offers some advice to a young man who has written to him on the tragic death of his best friend, and this part I really loved:
"Lastly, remember that all of our experiences in the world ultimately occur in our mind and soul. When your friend was alive, you looked at him with your eyes and heard him with your ears, and those senses formed impressions and thoughts in your mind. Now that your friend is dead, you are still using your mind to think about him and perceive him, just as you did when he was standing right in front of you. He really is still here. He still is where he always was to you: inside your mind. This is what people mean when they say someone's spirit will always be with you. They really always are with you, it's just a different version of their presence than when they were alive -- but it's just as real and it counts just as much. Never doubt that or let anyone try to make you think otherwise."
So wherever you are, know that I am thinking of you, and maybe you are reading this and thinking of me, and that is the magic of human love. I love you, I miss you. Forever.

Photo: a double rainbow outside my back window, early June

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