The way time marches on after a loss is stunning at first. It’s jarring—to log into Facebook, to watch the news, to go to the grocery store. Everything else carries on as it was before, except for you. You are changed.
The world doesn’t stop and wait for you to get it together though, you know? Last week was such a blur. Edd passed away Tuesday, his body was removed from the house shortly after, the visitation was Thursday, and the funeral service Friday. It was all so fast. There were flowers, emails, cards, tears, and wonderful words from wonderful people. It was amazing to hear of the reach Edd has had in his lifetime. But it was all so fast. And now family has trickled back to their respective homes, and this week we carry on. Sometimes numb. Sometimes not.
It’s Monday morning of a new week and here I am at my desk, sunlight streaming in through the window beside me and my trusty little laptop before me. I’ve had coffee and a bagel and half an apple, and now I’m sitting down to do something I’ve done a thousand times before (write a blog post), but it feels different now. More important. Because last week was game changing… Totally and completely game changing. But how do I make people understand that? What I saw? What I felt? What I’m still feeling?
Maybe it’s too early for this. Maybe I’m not quite ready yet. But I feel this need to carry on—this urge to do things that would make Edd proud. To get moving on this life thing. Because it’s precious, and it’s fragile, and it ends.
Last Tuesday I watched a life end. Or perhaps I should say I saw a body die. Because what hit me like a ton of bricks that Tuesday at 11:35 AM is that we are not our body. We are something else. We are what lives inside our body as long as it’s still breathing, but what makes you YOU is not your body. Your body is the shell of you, and it really is a fragile shell. I didn’t grasp that until last week, and it was a real revelation for me. Seeing someone’s shell, with the person missing from it, is the most surreal experience, but also an important one. We spend so much time fretting about what’s on the outside, and not nearly enough time worrying about what’s on the (proverbial) “inside.” The part of you that doesn’t die.
I have a feeling that last Tuesday and the week that followed will be the single most defining time in my life. It really put things into perspective for me, and I hope I can hold onto that perspective.
There’s more I could say, but it can wait. I’ll leave you with a piece my mom read at Edd’s funeral…
When death comes for us,
may our lives be already safely stored away
in the minds and hearts and memories of those we have loved,
and in the happiness and well-being of all we have helped,
and may death find no life to take from us
but shuffle off defeated,
having relieved us only of our dying.
-- Robert Brault