Just recently my best friend lost her brother, really the greatest guy you could have ever met, he had this amazing ability to make a stranger feel like a friend, and a friend feel like family. In his 18 years he changed more peoples lives than most do in triple that much time. But through the sleepless nights and countless “I’m so sorry about your loss’s”, she stayed amazingly strong. The day of his funeral she told me “I couldn’t cry” and my “not crying doesn’t mean your not sad” wasn’t the right answer, what she said was “I can’t cry because he’s not gone.”
I will never forget, every time the front door opened how she would look, look for him, and how he wasn’t there. Her once unforgettable face was bleached with a sadness that’s indescribable. But maybe that’s what she needed, the hope that he would return, and the presence of his soul to be with her and with us everyday.
So I believe in not believing, that the un-acceptance of something may really be the answer. I had always thought that it’s unhealthy to lie to yourself or not accept reality, but in the past few weeks I’ve embraced different. Because she really was right, he is still here. He may never sing us another song or tell us another joke, but his memories wont ever leave, the way that he changed all of us wont ever leave.
As kids we have imaginary friends, the unrealistic idea that someone is always there. Maybe for some people that is the best way to cope with death, that very same unrealistic idea. Not believing in the absence doesn’t make it untrue, but it cushions the fall. Too often when our lives are faced with loss we mourn for a week or two and then try to move back into our routines, forgetting how much it has effected people. But through this death I have learned that it doesn’t work out that way. That to my friend there will be a daily reminder of him for the rest of her life. Between the bracelets that everyone wears in his memory, to his initials engraved on her hand with grief.
So instead of having to let it hit us every morning, maybe we need to be able to never believe, or maybe just never forget. To wake up with a sense of presence, their presence, his presence, “he’s not gone” this I believe.