Tonight, another night of earth shattering reality.
Unexpected, painful reality.
The reality of death, and life, and grief.
Returning to those familiar, worn, paths in deep dark forests.
Again, they surface, these memories - the linger and pull of loss.
It was so surreal to jump on facebook tonight and find, sandwiched between an endless flow of fruitless, mindless crap, a short post informing that a man, who I had only 'known' via a handful of succint (and witty) facebook messages, was gone. My heart stopped still as I read the post, then re-read the post then read some comments to make sure I wasn't misreading it. He was gone. Like a breath, his life, extingushed.
In that moment I went from shock, to rage to overwhelming grief as the memories and emotions of my experiences pulled me under.
Part of me feels strange, unworthy even, of posting this, as if I'm encroaching upon someone else' sacred ground; a land strewn with beautifully vibrant memories that will someday, much like my own, become a war torn battlefield of cobwebs and crumbling graves. I feel uncertain as I weep, cold in the arms of familiar grief, for a man I didn't know.
I find that the more I sit here, staring at this blank screen, the more uncertain I become about why I sat down to write this. I am a mix of emotions, a flurry of shock, grief, confusion, heartbreak, pride and knowingness. I've done this all before. I've wept bitterly. I've raged. I've gone numb. I am overcome with grief at the journey ahead, albeit a healing path, for my friend who lost her brother - but I know there is something in all of this that needs to be said. That desperately needs to be known and gripped onto in the coming storm, bloody fingered, white knuckled.
I don't know how to transition my current emotions into what I'm trying to say, so I'm just going to say it.
Death is a bitch. Loss and grief is an ugly, dark mass that will choke you slowly, while taking the form of something beautiful and enticing, welcoming even, if you allow yourself to live in that place. Grief is an island of transition, and you are welcome to stay as long as you need but do not live there, for in that place you will lose sight of hope, of Truth.
It gets's harder every time, remembering the Truth, holding onto hope, striving to focus my grief blurred vision on the light that radiates seemingly out of reach, but here is our reality - amidst the pain, and wailing THIS IS OUR TRUTH:
1 COR 15:55
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
It has been swallowed up in victory.
I am so angry. I am so angry that our loved ones are wrenched from our grasp, but I refuse to surrender to the lie of 'the end'. It's not the end. It will never be the end because the story is already written, and spoiler alert, death loses.
This man was a testament to this, in life, with every fiber of his being.
What a beautiful song, his life. What a beautiful song, Justus Allen.