The world is a huge place. In our heads. Because that's where our entire universe lives and expands by the minute. We think that the world is everything that is around us and way out THERE , but it isn't. That's just high-end real estate. And a lot of it. No, our world is a very private thing that is run by the laws that we make up. What we all perceive simply does not really exist. Because out there is nothing more than an inventory of water, dust, carbon, planets and starlight.
What they mean and how they are integrated into our lives is a whole other matter. We create purpose. We create dreams. We create miracles. We create religions. We create life. And we create stories that we believe are facts. But the hardest part of being the ongoing custodian of our own, personal universe, is having to take on loss.
Since we assign relative value and purpose to everything in our lives, how we deal with loss pretty much depends on who has just disappeared.
When enemies are destroyed we feel pleased and vindicated. But when deep, personal allies: friends, lovers, family, pets, suddenly turn to memory mist and vapor, life can suddenly turn as dark and primitive as prehistoric times because that's where we go when we suffer loss. We go back in time,to the lonely point before we ever met those that we lost. And that's why it feels so regressive and tortuously sad.
We sculpt purpose and vitality into the clay hearts of those that we love. While the world may view your beloved as just another person dodging raindrops or casually walking a dog or buying toothpaste in a drug store aisle, to you they are almost God-like in their importance to YOU.
That importance is nothing to the world, but to you, your friends and loved ones are they very engine of your desire. They give you renewed purpose with each and every "good morning" and "good night" and "I love you too."
They are your world. Your strength. Your protection. Your safety. The curators of your fantasies and dreams and most of all: your secrets.
They understand you.
And then, one day, they are gone.
I lost a dear friend this week who was once upon a time an intricate part of my quiet galaxy. She was a northern star. A clear light who once upon a time guided me simply by being her. She was an easy, sometimes daffy, ongoing, full of life presence, who had a visible only to you tail, that wagged wildly whenever she saw you. She was an energetic cheerleader who rooted for whatever team you were on at the moment. Her allegiance was to the sport of life and all she wanted for you was for you to reach your immediate and long term outsized goals not matter how unrealistic or impossible. While there was never a hint of prejudice there was always a deeply rooted bias for all things fair and right and decent.
She was in fact the kind of woman who impacted your universe whether you saw her just yesterday or two years ago.
The right kind of compassionate human being can be a comet that on impact creates massive craters that only they know how to fill.
Most of the people that we lose are not famous or significant to the rest of the world which makes it that much more agonizing when your try to describe in full detail, the legacy trail that has been left in the miles of memory wake.
It's like trying to describe the ocean or the sky or God. As big as they are, their importance to you just cannot be successfully expressed.
So you live with the heavy weight of quiet sadness on your chest, right above your heart, which has itself has become inarticulate and lost.
And then one day you wake up and realize that no one ever truly disappears. But coming back in any form is not part of the magic trick.
Keeping their spirit alive is what the trick is all about. It's about not letting the melody of their voice every leave your ears. It's about not letting the warmth that you felt whenever they held or kissed you ever escape. It's about nurturing memories, but most importantly, it's about becoming partners with their causes, it's about honoring their faith and it's about loving them just as fully and completely as you did when they were alive
That is your job now. To maintain purpose and to always remember.
The brightly lit candle that was once upon a time our most beloved can only be extinguished by you.
We are not abandoned. We are not orphaned. We are not alone.
Not as long as they lived inside you.
I love you, Beth.
And may flights of angels sing thee to they rest.