Friday, March 27, 2009
Today is the first death anniversary of a friend of mine. Before becoming my friend, CMG was a student of mine back in 2004-2005. I still remember him sitting right in front of me, or more accurately stated, being moved to sit right in front of me. There was never a malicious bone in his body. Although he often disrupted class one couldn't help but laugh-C was just funny. C was always very inappropriate in his manner of joking/humor and I loved almost every moment of it. I was able to laugh at his humor and appreciate it, since he said what was usually on most of our minds. That academic year I probably took his cell phone away from him on a weekly basis since it would often go off in class. I never suspected that C would actually visit me regularly after school his junior and senior years of high school. As C matured I was pleased to see that we could actually talk seriously every now and again, trust me, C was not a serious guy, but the few moments were cherished moments because it only affirmed to me that he actually had plans and cared so very deeply about his family and friends.
Death has always been a part of my life since I was very young. It astounds me that I have contemporaries who still have both sets of grandparents! My mother's mother passed when I was 4, maybe 5 years old. I remember my uncle coming over one day in October, seeing my Uncle was NOT a good sign, since he rarely came over, much less by himself. All I was told was that Grandma had a heart-attack and went to sleep forever. My mother did not allow me to attend any services, neither wake nor funeral. So one day my grandmother was here, the next day gone. Not long after that, my father's father died. Since he died from cancer, I remember him struggling with oxygen and just a steady decline. Again, my parents thought it wasn't proper for me to attend any services. I guess they believed me to be too young to be able to handle it?
Death sucks, period. We never want to see friends and loved ones leave us. It is a bit more palatable when the person who dies is "older." It makes sense to us that the older we get, the closer to death we get. Death NEVER makes sense when it comes to a child, a teenager, a person in their 20s or 30s. We are left with an aching heart, an empty spirit and each others' embraces to get us through these times. No words, flowers, momentos can really ease the pain, it is just something we have to endure. Enduring it, honoring it, celebrating it is critical for healing and allowing that person to go. How do I mean this? My views are a bit strange to the average person since I feel that the dead are still here, they are a part of us. They have changed and moved on to the spiritual world now, it is us who are stuck here, in the physical world not allowing ourselves to ascend to higher things, to pay them visits, to recall them, to honor them, to celebrate them. Our deceased loved ones are a part of us now more than ever, for it is their love that lives on in us. Of course I want C here with me now, I want my grandmothers' sauce, my grandfather's meatballs, my aunt's pickled eggplant, and so on, but how selfish is that of me? They are potentially enjoying the absolute presence of God in all His Beauty and Splendor-they have reached their home, taking their place in his mansion. If I love them, then I ought to be rejoicing too knowing that they are in God's most holy presence and hopefully praying for me. Only in faith can I accept this, only in faith can I celebrate this, after all isn't this the very reason why Jesus came to us? To suffer, die and rise body and soul? Death outside the context of faith means nothing. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Since CMG and all my family and friends who have moved on are now part of the communion of saints I can confidently say, CMG, pray for us! We love and miss you!