We have less time than we knew...
~ Annie Dillard, Holy The Firm ~
I am quiet. I am silenced by the devastating grief of the loss of a thirteen year old boy who was like a son to my best friend. To say that the family is shaken to their core and devastated goes without saying.
I will say no more of his death because it is not my place. I would celebrate his life, which, truly he deserves, but I did not know him well, and I would want to honor him and do right by him in a way I am not able. I am questioning, as people do, why bad things happen to good people, and I am witnessing the chilling and heart-rending affect this precious boy's death has had on my friend. I am writing a letter of love to my friend Jeff and his precious Alex. I am writing to all parents and loved ones who have lost a child, who have lost anyone. I am writing because life is ephemeral, and the death of anyone, especially a child, shakes one awake and wrenches us out of the place we have been in where petty things swallow our days, and we let things pass that we shouldn't, I am writing this as a tribute to life, and every precious moment that we have left. We have less time than we knew, and we must cherish every tender moment.
I think how often a day goes by that I could have been more, done more, given more, and it humbles me. I thank God that amidst the horrors of the world there is still innocence. I look around me at all that we might do that we never get around to, of all those who are precious to us that we "will call later." I think of that strange phenomenon that occurs when, after an event, after an ending, we think of the last time we told someone we loved them, or kissed them, or made love to them, or took them cookies, or held their hand, never in a million years imagining that it would be the last time. We never know when it will be the last time, and to that end the best we can do is to live with as few regrets as possible.
I am sitting here trying to think what to write and I feel like the breath has been knocked out of me, and it was not my child. I have nothing to give but my simple words. I have nothing to offer but few gentle thoughts. I am perplexed, I am sad, I feel helpless.
I won't go on. I have no answers. This isn't a discourse in death and dying. This is, perhaps, if anything, about life, and cherishing it, and going on. Another line from Dillard's Holy The Firm that really hit me tonight when I was grasping at straws -- for I know in this case it is senseless, cruel, and there is no meaning, and I will not offer shallow words ...
This process in time is history; in space, at such shocking random, it is mystery.
It is history, it is mystery, it is shattering and soul-piercing and more, but we the living must help those left behind. Tonight I begin a journey, I make a list of all that I need to do that I haven't done, of all of those whom I need to tell I love them, every day, in every way. Tonight I open my arms to my darling Jeff, brother of my soul, and I hold him tenderly in my heart and let him cry in my arms. And I wish Alex peace. May he send his family the strength they need to see them through.
Deep, deep blessings and prayers without end...