Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Three Meditations on the Death of a Friend

Tim Bass by Tinidril
Last week, in the middle of the night, my son, my wife and I did our best to save our friend's life and then watched as the paramedics did the same with all they had for forty five minutes. To no avail. Tim was a quiet man of few words, but when he did speak, it was with wisdom and humor and usually with a slight grin through his hairy face. My friends will want to tell me that he's in a better place. And I'll tell others that he's in the rest and peace he so deserves. But for me right now, it's not about that.
Every person we get to know creates a shadow of that person in our minds, connected, as if by an umbilical cord to the real soul we experience. Every time we bump into that person, laugh with that person, work with that person, mourn with him, fight with him, suffer with him, love him-- that shadow of the person grows in our soul and the more often we see or spend time with that person the cord grows stronger, and the connection is deeper.
When a person dies, or leaves us or suddenly disappears that cord is cut, and we are severed from the soul that is an essential part of who we are. And that shadow, that part of ourselves, begins to shrivel, to starve. When we grieve, we aren't so much grieving for our loved one who is now doing better than we will for a while. We cry because a part of us has been carved out of our soul, and he's still there, but we know the memory won't last for long. The feelings of being with him are going to fade. We have lost, are losing, a part of ourselves.

* * *

Each body is a tiny universe
Each soul its own nation.
Complexity, contradiction, conflict
Wrapped within a weakened unity.
Who dare unravel the depths of a person?
What book written completes the hidden?
The death of one is a genocide,
A grave tragedy the angels decry.
Who dismisses such a loss?
Who among the wise dare take it lightly?
Mourn with me this intricate maze,
Not because it is no more,
But because the world lacks the richness
Once taken for granted.

* * *

Beneath the tree
Beside the road
Lay the sign:
       "One coin helps."
No one steals it.
Worthless cardboard
All that remains
       But fading memories.

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