Anyone that knows me is aware of the fact that my father passed away barely a half year ago. In some ways his passing was a liberation, in countless ways it has inspired me andgiven me strength and insight I never knew would come in my lifetime, and in the most private times and occasionally when I least expect it, it is a excruciating knife wound aimed with murderous intent at the belly of my soul.
I haven’t really figured out how to predict what my experience will be when the fleeting memories briefly insert themselves aggressively in to my awareness. Indeed, sometimes it can start heartwarmingly reflective and turn quickly towards bitter anger and sorrow. This cross section of the most uplifting and most harrowing of human emotions is, in my opinion, the very essence of life and the only proof you have loved someone.
If white is the combination of all colors of the rainbow and representing all possible visible colors, then the breadth of emotions you experience upon losing someone you love must be love.
It can be so tempting when people are taken early from our earthly lives to fixate if not obsess over the question of “what if?” and all its various incarnations. “What if he were here right now,” “what if I had spent more time with him,” “what if she had just taken better care of herself?”
And the worst of all questions when it comes to losing a parent is: “What would he teach me if I were here right now,” “what would he tell me to do if he knew I were in this situation,” or “what would he know that could help?”
I lost my father at the age of 36 and my father barely 70 and among my contemporaries this both early and unusual…the fact he had a stroke on my thirtieth birthday and lost the ability to speak and interact as I had come to rely upon for 30 years in the role of my father was an even bigger sadness.
Whether because of the forced focus one must have on their life and its priorities when sickness or loss have a meaningful role in the storyline, or just because one tends to gain maturity in their late 30s — I find myself for the first time feeling like I understand myself, operate from a sense of values I can articulate and represent with authenticity, find happiness not in my own self gratification but in uplifting others, and have found faith and God not just in my heart or prayers or meditation — but in finally understanding that God and faith are simply the acceptance of a vast beautiful unknown beyond my ability to conceive, understand, predict, or imagine.
God is infinity…the singularity from which everything originated and where everything will return.
My heart breaks tonight for my best friend Ian who is ten years younger than me but in many ways that matter, my more sophisticated elder. He is kinder, more responsible in some ways.
And he is facing what I faced — the death of his father — but with a decade fewer years to develop the coping mechanisms needed or the resigned acceptance of the inevitable circle that is life.
He hasn’t had as many years to ask his father the questions I asked mine, hug each other as many times…to soak in the smell, feel, and energy of his father’s presence in hopes that when he is gone, you can remember what it feels like.
So my heart breaks for him, for me, for anyone that loses someone they love. And it is filled with hope, that we learn, change, and honor that love in new ways because of the loss and anguish. And because I know my friend, I’m prayerful and somewhat inspired too — because Ian makes bad situations in to good ones and is always one to see the possibility that others miss. Sad and unwelcome as it is, my hope for Ian is this becomes inspiration and possibility and a source of energy and drive much like I’ve experienced and that the spirit of his father becomes as divine a guide as I feel my father’s has.
And in to God’s hands we commend his spirit.