Yesterday, a friend of mine suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. It was difficult news to receive, not just because it was unexpected, but mostly because this young man was an incredible source of joy to all those around him. He is the kind of person the world today needs more of.
As his friends around the world found out, emails and text messages started pouring in. “Have you heard?” “I can’t believe it!” “I can’t stop crying.” “Why?” My own struggle with these same questions became easier as I shared thoughts and comfort with these friends.
Then the tributes started appearing on Facebook; first, a couple of statuses’ were updated; then, pictures were added; as the day went on, my feed became filled with pictures of my friend beaming alongside various people he had met throughout his life, accompanied, more often than not, with beautiful words of remembrance.
My friends and I know that “death is a messenger of joy”, and it does make the separation caused by the passing of someone precious a lot easier—they are, after all, in a much better place. But even then, there is a difficult period of adjustment that is required for us, as we learn to live without the physical presence of a loved one.
This is where a strong community makes the world of a difference. The emails and the text messages continue pouring in as friends reminisce about the good times, and support is provided to those closest to the deceased. Through laughter at the memory of some of our friend’s craziest moments, we remember that he is in a better place, and that life, for us, must go on. We realise that he might not be physically here with us, but his spirit lives on. And as we realise that his life was one worth living, we are comforted by the gifts he gave us, and hope that we, in some small way, might have been able to give him gifts that are useful to him in this new adventure his soul has embarked on.
Rest in peace, V.
Image credit: Chad Mauger.