Four people I love have lost people they love over the past two weeks.
Death is a difficult subject to talk or write about; words feel flimsy. I don’t associate death with inspiration, but after attending two funerals and spending time with the grieving, I am experiencing death to be the most majestic window we have to behold the true nature of our remarkable love for each other.
It’s an honor to spend time with anyone who is mourning. Bearing witness to grief is sacred; there is something holy about the ones left behind. Temples of absolute love, they rise around the memory of the deceased. We supporters enter carefully, carrying words and gestures to leave at their altars.
All the people who have died this past week are over 70 and have been sick for a while. They all lived “a full life”, but it’s never long enough for their loved ones. Long life, short life, tragic life, great life- I have noticed throughout the years that the circumstances don’t make a difference. The words we use to ease heartache don’t hasten or lessen mourning. There are no shortcuts or action steps we can take. When a loved one dies, we are left with a surplus of emotion that only time can absorb.
Surrounded by grief, I have been asking myself mighty questions- Am I loving with all my heart? Do people I love know how much I love them? What more can I share before my time comes? What holds me back from living each day more fully?
Inside these massive inquiries, I am compelled to recalibrate my commitment to love. My family and friends appear more precious, I want to hold our hugs for a little bit longer. I am awed by the uniqueness and beauty in all of them. I am allowing “I love you” to flow more freely from my mouth, observing how self-conscious and vulnerable I feel with the delivery of those three words. Are those uncomfortable feelings the reason for my withholding? Or is it about the receiver’s response? Will my expression be too much for them? Whatever the reason I am getting over it today.
During this period of mourning, I realize that the tragedy is not just death, it’s the daily forgetting or withholding of our love that haunts us. Our boundless capacity to love each other is the best part of our humanity.
Go, love, love like your life depends on it.