My phone rang about 4:45pm yesterday and it was a long time friend who I love and respect greatly. Yesterday was a tough day as it marked the one year anniversary of our friends Phil and Raychel dying in a car wreck. I heard Scott's voice and the emotion just bubbled up inside of me. He knew how I was feeling, I knew how he was feeling. In fact, we are part of a larger group of wonderful friends and we knew how the whole group was feeling. We shared stories for a few minutes and then said goodbye. A phone conversation that lasted about 10 minutes but was literally like calming lotion on a very wounded place.
But here is the thing. I had fun yesterday, too. I had several other conversations, texted back and forth with other friends, taught my class and did my regular life thing. Unless I told you what was on my heart, you would not have known. I was not trying to hide anything. I just felt the need to share my grief with the ones who i knew were grieving, too. And to live out my life in the other areas like I would any other day.
That tension struck me last night. And hence this post. Living life in the midst of pain and grief but not being shut down by it. Is that possible? Does it appear disrespectful? Does it rub up against social norms? Is it okay that my heart was aching in one spot yet I was being silly and lighthearted in other spots?
And I think I have an answer for me at least. I think it is possible, in fact, I think it is necessary. Does this align with commonly held cultural views on how we respond to death, probably not. But that's okay with me. I think we all find our way of being in the world and we live it as fully as we can.
And so, Phil...let me say. I thought of you a whole bunch yesterday. I saw your lovely face and inviting smile. I heard your giggle and could picture your bright eyes. The clean shaved head, that made me happy, flashed through my mind. I heard your gentle voice with words that you picked carefully. And I heard you sing. Oh, did I hear you sing. Your voice that sounded like the most beautiful music played over and over in my mind. The way you loved Debby and Raychel and Zachary felt so comforting to me yesterday. Which makes me think of Miss Raychel. See Ray, I spelled your name with the "y" -- sweet girl, I got to say everything I could dream of saying as I spoke at your memorial service. Let me just say, I miss you and your quick smile, your hearty laugh, the white sunglasses perched on your head and your off the wall humor.
But guys know this. I also drank tea, cooked dinner, did the Mom thing and hung out with David. I taught school and went to the bank. I laughed with other friends and played Apples to Apples. And in the living of life as normal, while my heart ached for you, I felt like you were right there. I hope that I never get used to you being gone.