I believe that God is the connective tissue between people, the ephemeral energy that makes us want to do better, be better, make the world better. I long to be a child of God to live up to his definition. I want God to give me the strength to do so generally and to fulfill the promise I made to a soul whose demons took him away too soon.
I am not as efficient as I was pre-pandemic. Self-flagellation may build upper body strength, but it is exhausting. I am tired. But there is so much to do. So many “should’ves”” could’ves”, “would’ves” … they swirl into nightmares creating a vortex of not enough that threatens to consume my ego entirely.
I pray for the strength to be the person I promised you — and myself — I would be.
I couldn’t go to your funeral. I’d already committed to hosting 50 people. Last year, when we could still do such things. That morning I stopped by our church to contribute baseball napkins for the post service gathering, the one I wish I’d attended. You loved softball. I am sorry we were never close enough for me to see you play. I don’t know why we never moved from friendly to friends – guess I thought that there would always be time to do so at another gathering, another…. Another thing that never came and never will.
As I glanced at the photographs and mementos of a life, your life that were on display I promised to honor your too-short presence on this mortal coil by fostering connection. I smile at strangers. I hope it brightens their day. Nowadays, I make sure the smile reaches my eyes so hopefully it can be seen by a stranger who needs it. I introduce those who would benefit from a posse, those with similar maladies or struggles in the hope that their specific idiosyncratic burdens can be understood and maybe even shared.
I don’t know what happened on that night in December, the one that was so dark and stormy inside you that you took your own life. Why you thought this world would be better off without you baffles me still. You were wrong. It most certainly is not. People, those to whom you were closest, ache for you. Their sorrow makes my heart weep for them— and for you.
I also live with the sense of loss – less acute than the hole in others’ hearts but an emptiness nonetheless – ruminating over the “could’ves”, “should’ves” and “might have beens”. I sip more caffeine and pray for the strength to do better, be better, make the world better. I hope that this makes God, and you, smile.