Were there no grey skies, the phrase “clear skies ahead” would too not exist. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. Last night I spoke to a dear friend on the phone. It was late, a bit past 1AM. It wasn’t a talk you ever want to have, but one that will consistently pop up throughout life. The topic was death.
This new year brought her a new pain. On the first, her father was abruptly bed ridden. On the second, he was in the hospital diagnosed with cancer… everywhere. Today, January 14th, he will be taken off life support. I don’t think she’s blinked once yet.
And so it is. That is how fast life can change. It takes no time at all to turn your world upside down. 13 years ago, I lost my father. And I don’t mean I misplaced him at the mall. I came home late one night, five days before Christmas and found him dead in the living room chair. These things happen, there is no real way to prepare yourself. We can only accept that it will happen one day, then live and celebrate life for the precious gift it is. Death doesn’t mean it is over, it doesn’t mean someone is gone forever. It just means their role in your life has changed, they will now guide you in ways you were unable to let them in their living days. The lessons my father taught me became so apparent and profound in the years after his passing, why hadn’t I noticed them earlier? It is wonderful, really. It makes me smile when a little jewel of information is revealed to me, even so long after his passing. How did he do that? It’s amazing, kind of like those time-released Ambiens.
It never gets easy, only less hard. I can joke about it now, but even after I have a laugh.. I look off into the distance and daydream into a fond memory. It is the only way to get by. A big part of life seems to be learning how to cope with loss. It’s best we figure it out sooner than later. I could take the bleak look and say we go through life losing people, then people lose us. It’s not that bad though, I think of the people I’ve lost and I have a smile. I think of a good laugh we had or a timeless memorable moment, and just keep moving forward. After all, they are coming with me.
Well… to my friend I offer support and the guarantee that time will heal. There will be a lot of awkward silences to come; much emptiness in the void that until now, was never left vacant. Your heart will fill back up. You’ll cry again, but most importantly and most assuredly, you’ll smile again. Stay strong D.B.