What I Learned From A Death of Friend

Yesterday I spent the day laughing and sobbing with equal abandon, at the funeral of a beloved friend to myself and many, many others. As we shared our favorite story of the man afterwards, I laughed so hard, I thought my face would break and shed even more tears. Who knew the body would create so many tears?

Isn’t that the best way to send off a friend? Life and death intertwined, funny and sad, good and bad. It all equals each other out in the end.

In the spirit of this, I learned a few things yesterday:

  • Shared experiences means you bypass smalltalk. Straight into the guts of life and it’s mysteries, the best kind of connection.
  • People’s grief is expressed differently. I ended up doing the ugly cry but I didn’t care and neither did the old friends.
  • Time heals. What were those old feuds about from yesteryear? Nobody cares now. Least of all me. Life is too precious to hang on to the bullshit.
  • Love transcends all. The love in the church, filled with 800 mourners, was intense but the love rose to the top, like cream.
  • People find their own tribe. My clansmen were the mourners. Members of the ultimate troupe and we are all the better for knowing each other and him.
  • Old friends are the funniest friends. Instant humour – just add memories.
  • Understanding -Many of my tears were from finally realising what he had always seen in me and had taken 25 years to see in myself.
  • Privilege – to have known him, to know each other and to have been a part of something amazing.
This morning I took to my day with vigour. It is so short, there is much to be done. I am loved, privileged. I have old friends and new ones, I have laughed as much as I have cried. I am here. I am.
“I think that one of these days,” he said, “you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.” —Mr Antolini from Catcher in the Rye



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