Love and Death

I lost a friend this morning. He wasn’t a close friend. I only saw him when I was working. Still, I love him. Yesterday he complained of trouble walking. I had often had trouble understanding his efforts to communicate verbally, but trouble walking was new. I attempted to locate a wheelchair or crutches for him to no avail. I asked exactly what he needed and he was somewhat short with me. My first impulse was to simply leave him alone; But I soon realized that I had to do something for him. This wasn’t about gaining gratitude. It was about minimizing a person’s pain. I resided to waiting until the end of my shift at work to go out and purchase crutches for him. While engaged in work-related activities, I found a cane in a maintenance closet. When I delivered it, he was grateful. When I arrived at work this morning, there was a large police presence. A coworker told me a man had died. I knew it was him, even when she gave me incorrect identifying information. While there is present in me an obvious sense of loss, a greater sense of a perfect, transcending, deliberate conclusion overpowers any sense of loss. He was/is not my best friend from childhood. He was/is not my grandmother. As he didn’t fill such an important position in my life, I am not expected to mourn his death the same way I mourned that of my best friend’s or my grandmother’s. And I have yet to. But he was/is my brother, not in a religious faith that causes us to divide from and fight with others, not in commonalities and allegiance felt as a result of our lack of difference, but in love. I love this man who no longer exists in the way I knew him. I’ve been told sadness over a loved one’s death is more the product of personal loss than the result of pity for the loved one. I believe he is no longer in pain. I also believe any experience after death in our world is so much greater and brilliant than anything modern religions have described. In spite of my joy for him, a sense of loneliness swells inside. I may shed a tear as a result of my personal loss, but I am truly grateful he is currently able to experience the world that follows this one.