It is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends today. Facebook was kind enough to send me a reminder yesterday-Outlook too. I had to smirk for just a moment because for the first time in probably the history of our friendship, I had not forgotten. I had remembered it on my own. He would have laughed at this, he would have appreciated the irony. The year I finally remembered, is the first birthday he is not here with us.
My feed this morning is filled with his face, pictures of him laughing and smiling with family and friends. Memories are being shared across the miles. They are like a quick punch in the gut for a moment, sneaking up on me and stealing my breath. He is in his uniform, handsome and proud. He is dancing at his wedding, his face filled with joy as he holds his new bride. He is on his bike in the woods, jumping logs and racing downhill. He is hugging his girls and laughing with them.
He was my rock, my constant, from the time I was barely a teenager, to the day he died. No matter what trouble I found myself in, what mess I made, he was there for me. Always.
I don’t think that I said enough before he was gone-I love you, or thank you. It happened so quickly, that I did not even get to say goodbye. I called, and it was too late. He couldn’t speak-the cancer had moved to his brain. My chance to say all of the things I wanted to was gone. Just like that.
There are so many things in life I do not understand, that I will never understand. There are things that religion, and spirituality and faith cannot explain to me. This is one of those things. I struggle with the why….Why him? Why so soon after he found true love and true happiness? Why, when he was so good, so kind? What sense does that make? How can your stories, myths, or beliefs make this right?
They can’t for me.
He died just six months after he danced at his wedding. His honeymoon was spent in the hospital. There is no sense in that. There never will be.
Today I will remember his laugh, deep and genuine. I will remember his smile and his absolutely positive outlook on life. I will be thankful for the years of unconditional friendship he gave me. I will whisper happy birthday, and let the tears fall, and hope that wherever he is now, he knows how much he is missed and loved.