In the past 23 years I have attended funerals at young ages, mostly of grandparents and relatives. And while each was heartbreaking, even then I could grasp death was a part of the cycle of life.
As I grew up, I began to see across social media friends losing people very close to them. I didn’t quite understand, why they felt the need to constantly share it across social media or talk about it. I naively thought they were seeking attention and sympathy.
Then one day. I got a phone call in July from my volleyball coach. She spoke with tears in her eyes, asking I sit down before we continue this conversation. Then said:
There has been an accident. Carly didn’t make it.
I couldn’t have heard her correctly. A million questions ran through my head, and just as quickly came out of my mouth, trying to understand how this could have happened?
Death is difficult because it comes bearing acceptance without logic or understanding.
And even to this day, I wonder why my friend/teammate/family, was taken from all of us. And I went though the motions, of days that blended together, in a whirlwind of tears and confusion. Next thing I knew, as quickly as she came and went, blazing a trail never to be forgotten within our hearts, suddenly the funeral was over. Suddenly I was sitting in my room alone. And the question came up, what am I able to do? Is there anything I am able to do?
I knew the only thing I was capable of doing, was keeping her memory alive. Because while people may get robbed of a full life, they stay alive in the hearts of those they touched, as we continue to walk this earth without them.
Contrary to my prior beliefs, when someone loses a loved one, I realize it isn’t for attention or sympathy.
We are keeping that person alive, in the only way we know how, by memorializing them, valuing them and talking about them.
When someone passes away, it isn’t our duty to move on with our life, as if they weren’t a vital component to it. It is our duty to take them with us for every step along the way.
Through the process of mourning, gaining acceptance, without understanding and living my life with her apart of it, I developed relationships with the people who were equally as touched by her.
Death has a way of bringing unlikely people together, and through that bond, we form relationships we never have would have. While I would give that all up, for one more day with my friend, I find comfort in her family becoming my own, her friends becoming my own, and walking along this journey knowing she is smiling and watching over us all.
While there is no way to understand what has happened, and we probably never will, we’ll find a peace of mind in knowing, for as long as we are alive they will be, in some way too.
They come into our lives and inexplicitly exit without goodbyes uttered. They acted as comets lighting up, everything about our world, before disappearing into darkness. They left us with memories that consume our pasts, and pull at our heartstrings. But the thing we must remember isn’t that they are gone but they are with us in every moment we want to take them along. Missing someone isn’t about how long it is since you saw he or she, but in the moments we do something and we wish they were right there with us.
For our lost loved ones, who weren’t privileged to live a whole life, something greater is bestowed upon them. Unlike the rest of us, they last an eternity.