Yesterday I learned that a friend had passed away. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Tragically. And far too soon.
Someone who made the world better by being in it, no longer is. And I don’t quite know how to process that.
Death and I are old frenemies, going all the way back to when I was 5 years old and my baby sister died during yet another surgery to attempt to correct a birth defect. I’ve gone to many funerals for family members, but since we moved away from them when I was 6, the grief always felt one step removed. There was a distance. I was sad, but not devastated.
Yesterday I was devastated.
It was the first time someone’s death made me sob immediately. I couldn’t help myself or stop myself, even as I called Todd to let him know. I could barely get the words out. I left work early (after collecting myself enough to drive) and instead of approaching this 4 day weekend as a time to power through as many projects as possible, I’m reflecting on the whats and whys of life and all we do.
Yes, I posted about Brian’s passing a couple years ago, and how that affected me. Yes, he was local and a friend, but not the same kind of friend. When I heard about Brian’s death, denial was swift: we’re being punked, right?! For pity’s sake, he’d live-tweeted his time in the hospital on Thanksgiving with his customary humor, it had to be a joke, right? But no.
I didn’t deny David’s death, yesterday. While I bounced around the other flavors of grief, denial was never a part of it. I didn’t want it to be true, but I accepted it as fact. Somehow I knew it wasn’t a joke, wasn’t a prank, wasn’t debatable. Acceptance is not the end of grief.
Part of me is angry, but at whom I’m not entirely sure.All of me is sad.
At last year’s Halloween party, David was one of the 10 readings I did that night. I’m so glad I had that time with him. Not just now, in hindsight, but because he thanked me for it several times. His reading started out general, no specific question in mind, but quickly it zeroed in on career. Not too long after the party he was let go from his job. He told me our session helped him see the event not as the end of the world but as an opportunity, something he would not have without it. I felt lucky to be able to give him that perspective. And not too long after that, he was offered his dream job, and he thanked me again.
The job meant he’d be moving back down to Orlando, and we were all sad to see him go. But Facebook helps. It allows us to keep track of people no matter where they are, as long as they’re updating. It’s our lifeline.Â I suppose it’s fitting, then, that it was a mutual friend’s post that alerted me to his death.
I’m still processing. Will be for a while. But I’m trying to take something from this other than sadness and despair. A reminder to live each day the best we can, to tell our friends and loved ones how much we care. To let them know they are appreciated.
David was charming, sweet, funny, and smart. He was a good person. I was happy to see him. His absence will be felt.
This was, apparently, one of David’s favorite songs and has been shared by friends in his memory.