Most of these friends and family are believers, and often, during their transition, or just after, I find myself in an odd emotional state. I see others around me grieving, and yet the only thing I seem to feel is a melancholy sadness, like that feeling you get after dropping a good friend off at the airport, knowing you won’t see them again for some time.
A “post holiday letdown”, if you will.
This is how I felt when my dad went home, and again, last night, after we celebrated the life of one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
I did cry during the memorial, but not at the thought of Ed going home. I cried when I looked at his kids sitting in the front row, two of them born into a birth-right of great parents, two whom God blessed to be adopted into it. Amazingly good kids, all.
I cried as I thought of how the God who created everything, looked down at all of the people in the world that He could give these four babies too, and He chose my friends…because He KNEW.
I cried the way I cry during the final scene of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (sorry, I’m a movie buff) as I sat there looking at these four amazing young lives that are the legacy of everything that was good, and best, and wonderful about my friend. These bright, shining arrows who are just being launched into a dark world to bring light…the warmth of my old friend’s fingers still on the bowstring.
As they spoke about their father’s love, his nurturing, and the gift of the unquestionable importance he placed on his family, I found myself nodding and smiling, tears on my cheeks as such a wave of respect and pride and joy welled up at how good, how amazingly well, my dear friend had run and completed his race. To see the living, breathing evidence standing tall (some extremely tall) before me. How grateful I was that God had blessed me with the opportunity to watch it, and be touched by it.
How can I grieve?
I felt like one of those crazed parents at an awards ceremony, and I wanted to leap to my feet and shout, “THAT’S MY FRIEND THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT! MY FRIEND DID THAT!” (Don’t worry, I didn’t, but I wanted to!)
I will miss my friend so much, and I will think of him often. Likely with the first whiffs of smoke from the campfire, at the crunch of autumn leaves beneath my hunting boots, the smell of meat cooking over glowing coals, and with the unrestrained laughter of a group of life-long friends…these will remind me of him, and I’ll wish he was there with us again.
But I won’t say goodbye Ed, and I won’t grieve for you. I will think of you, and smile through my tears, and be so very proud of how well you ran your race.
Have a good flight, Brother, I’ll see you there.