Saturday, May 3, 2014
More Elegant Blessings...
A quiet evening at home by myself. The perfect time to get the news that my friend Dave has lost his battle with cancer this morning. Perfect because it has afforded me a little time to grieve, to contemplate, to sing a song of passages in the back yard, my face turned to the sun. I am glad it is done for him. It has been a very hard road, both for him and his loved ones. By the time he was diagnosed, it was Stage 4 and there wasn't a lot of hope, as these things go. His partner accompanied him through these final months, made some things happen (with a little help, of course)...he got to ride in a DeLorean, something he had always wanted to do. He got to see Niagara Falls. He traveled to Hawaii to see an old friend one last time. Old friends and not so old friends got to rally round him and love him and help out when needed and talk about important things, like rock and roll and misspent youths. He leaves behind 2 children, 17 and 12 (I think) and his partner Kim. My love and prayers go out to them.
These events always leave us thinking about all the what ifs, all the unexpected tragedies and blessings in out lives. Several days ago the friend of a friend took his own life. On the outside a man who had everything. Apparently not so much on the inside. My friend is shocked, as people are wont to be when a loved one kills themselves. And as is often the case, we think, I should have paid more attention. I should have reached out. I should have said I love you more than I did. We've all felt like that at one time or another. And later, we go back to being the same people we were, doing the same things we've always done. Pain erases itself, subtly, leaving dark spaces where light use to be and that delicious anesthesia that takes away the jarring memories and replaces then with a soft, telling, grief.
I few years ago I got involved in a little (big) project called The World Needs More Love Letters http://www.moreloveletters.com/welcome/ I did it on a rather small scale compared to some, but I did it faithfully. Every week I would write X number of little love letters...words of encouragement to tuck here and there for random people to find and read. Sometimes my own words, sometimes an uplifting verse or poem. I would tuck them into grocery aisles, between bottles of salad dressing. I would put them between the slats of a park bench. I would tuck them into a book at the library. I put some into the hymnals at church. Anyplace I could think of to stash a little love. It's very true that the world needs more love letters. We need more lovers. We need more love. More of these things and less of the things that seem to be woefully abundant...things like hate and fear and sorrow. I never heard about anyone finding any of my letters, but I would go back and check every once in a while and they would be gone, so I know they were being found. The act of my writing these love letters changed me profoundly. Lots of times in my life I have suffered from hurt and misfortune and frustration. I understand how that feels. Every once in a while, someone would cross my path and listen when I needed it or say just the one right thing that I needed to hear. Or even just be my own personal cheerleader. And it made all the difference in the world. I would write these little love letters, imagine someone finding one when they were in their darkest hour, and maybe it would feel like a blessing had just dropped into their lap out of nowhere. And it would would make me smile, and it would make my heart grow a little bigger and I would imagine that maybe I was making a small difference in this big crazy world we live in.
Sometimes we need to write love letters to ourselves. To our children. To our spouses. To our parents. To our friends. The World Needs More Love Letters.
A couple of weeks ago, I was able to go sit with my friend at the hospital for a few hours. We talked some. I read to him a little. I watched him sleep, his body wracked with tremors and pain, even in repose. A week or so later, I got to bake him a raspberry pie that he was craving. Small acts of love.
I am grateful that I got to do these small things. I am grateful that my last memories of my friend are these. NO regrets. No dramatic emotions. Just consideration of the Elegant Blessing of Death, that his pain is gone, his suffering is over and he is free as a bird to traverse the heavens and find his way Over the Rainbow.
On to the next adventure, David. Ever Onward.