Here’s the thing: it’s not fair, it doesn’t make sense, and there’s nothing that you can do about it.
There’s nothing you can do to make it right or hurt less and it will always hurt. Always. There will be moments when you forget for an hour and you will smile about something and then you will remember and feel horrible for smiling. But eventually, you will start to understand that life is a lot about loss and not wasting the spaces between the losses, celebrating every moment, not taking them for granted.
A friend died last week. I can honestly say I never witnessed him in a bad mood, not a really bad one. Maybe a bit tired from working and definitely massively hungover, but never in a bad mood. He always let me know he was happy to see me and I think that until right now, I never really understood how important that was to me. He made sure I knew he liked me. That gift slid by so effortlessly, I just knew it without recognizing I knew it. I mean, I feel bad that maybe I took it for granted, that I didn’t make him know I knew. I have been here before, I know this regret. I will stay in this regret and I will review it for months. Years.
I have cried every morning on my commute, when I have a silent moment to think about him. Loss and regret. Then honor. Then vows of not squandering time or experiences or interactions. Then promises to do my best to honor him with the time I have been gifted, but not guaranteed.
Nine hundred years ago, a Jewish poet/philosopher from Spain wrote a poem about death and loss that brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it. It guts me. There is not a single extra line, it is perfection. Thinking that nine hundred years ago, he wrote what I feel right now somehow oddly brings me some amount of comfort.
Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.
To remember this brings painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.
― Judah Halevi [1075-1141]