Saturday, February 25, 2012
I didn’t write another post immediately following the last, though I had intended to do so. While I can make excuses, the bottom line is I was waiting for my reflections to demonstrate a step forward and not have to admit abject failure, landing myself somewhere in the soup instead of making progress towards an increased steadiness on terra firma. And so I attempt to tread water to keep my head above the muck even as I continue to feel myself going under.
But I haven’t successfully turned myself around and I won’t put off writing any longer. The ignoble truth is I am angry. Furious in fact, and have been even before losing Jack as I watched the suffering he was forced to somehow tolerate as days stretched to weeks and weeks to months.
Yes, I know that the question, “Why do bad things, terrible, awful, unfair, unwarranted, and totally undeserving things happen to good, amazing, one in a billion type of people,” has been asked and answered by so many people it may appear old hat. But it doesn’t to me and not today.
Yet at the same time, I know he is looking down at me with a frown on his face, unhappy that I am unhappy, why I can’t seem to figure out what’s actually important and lasting in this experience. Why I’m letting all the chaff distract me from the beauty of the cornel within. I can imagine him truly confused as to why I just don’t seem to get it.
Knowing that his true suffering came from continuing to live while unable to give to others any longer in the manner he wanted to, I also know he'd suffer if all that resulted for me from his death was anger. Because he knew the truth behind the power anger holds over us, a truth I am only just starting to give voice to. Not fully formed into words yet the best I can do is thus. The truth Jack knew was that anger supersedes all else, preventing the ability to appreciate anything of beauty within or without.
And so, I find the real work begins only now. I must find the courage to turn over stones I may prefer to leave as they are, if I am to identify something significant that I can take away from this, a part of Jack that I can keep with me always. Awareness descends and I suddenly know that if I cannot do this, it will be I whom suffering finds, overtaking all else as that will be the moment I will truly and completely lose him forever.
I force my focus to light upon what lies in the opposite direction, though it takes great effort to do so. For it is there the alternative can be found. I feel suffused in warmth and it is only after I awaken from an unintended sleep that I am able to recognize the warmth still surrounding me. I realize it is hope.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Last week the world lost one of the truly great individuals so often not fully recognized until too late and I lost someone with whom I’d shared the type of true friendship that if you are blessed to find once in your lifetime you are very, very lucky. I was one of the lucky ones.
When I state he was “great” I don’t refer to an obvious kind of greatness, but one that was so inherent it was easy to take for granted as it couldn’t be separated from who he was and so wasn’t obviously apparent on a day to day basis. Every action he took was so automatic and so much a part of who he was it was like taking a breath. You don’t constantly think about whether the person next to you is breathing nor consider it remarkable they are doing so.
The difference between the greatness to which I am referring and the act of breathing is that for as long as we live we all breath, so there really is nothing remarkable about it. Yet the qualities Jack possessed, though as natural to him as breathing, were nothing short of remarkable.
Due to his humility and private nature, I won’t give much detail regarding these qualities, nor could I do him justice, truth be told, if I were to try. I will simply say he was someone who saw the goodness, the positive in everyone and he reacted to only that. For him, everyone with whom he came into contact was equally valuable, equally special, equally important and as such, of course anyone would help others as he did, couldn’t help but do so, as others were valuable, special and important.
But we know not just anyone will help all those they see in need - in this he stood far above most of us. Yet he never saw himself as unusual and if anything viewed himself as nothing extra ordinary, reserving that title for those around him.
Yet there were so many people whose lives he touched, changed, improved and the manner in which he quietly modeled a life well lived served as an example anyone could benefit from emulating. His was a life lived only within the positive, a life lived with unquestioned optimism, with joy elicited by even the most mundane. Jack’s was a life lived fully every minute despite its ending too soon.
These are the fundamentals that testify to the person he was. I will stop here as for those who knew him, no words need to be said and for those not blessed to have met him, no words will suffice.
My reactions to his loss continue to speak to me at unexpected moments and I have the sense something waits to be revealed. I will do my best to put this process into words inadequate though they may be, as I move through this journey. Perhaps others will relate to the voyage in which I seem to have become swept up. I welcome any remarks or reflections my posts may elicit from others who may find something in my words which feels familiar.