A dear friend of mine died this week and while it was not unexpected, still…
It came as a shock to realize that he no longer exists in this world, creating currents. He now only exists in my mind as memories and I am left with only the currents of my own memories. Sometimes a person changes your life and he did mine. I am now a birdwatcher because of his introduction; I discovered the balance of Zen because of him. Like many friendships, ours lurched with some misunderstanding, but it stood the test because underneath all the whitecaps, we had a vast ocean in common.
There was nothing left unsaid or undone at the end. He visited me in my new house, approving of it all, and when we last spoke, we said goodbye without actually saying the words, just extending to each other the understanding.
The loss created at first, an aching emptiness. But as I sifted through what was left to me, I came to realize that the emptiness was a gift. The emptiness, created by the wrenching free of what used to be filled with all the intertwining threads of a relationship, was also space. And without space, there can be no growth. And without growth, there is no life.
Grief is necessary. It is necessary to sift through the memories, holding each close and deciding whether to keep it as something precious, placing it in the space we now have, or to let it go, as something outgrown,
making more room for life.