I have to believe that, in order to move forward.
Time heals? Not really. It provides alternate realities in which we operate.
I lost yet another friend to cancer. I write this the day after Carol left this world, and I’m a mess, the emotions pinging like a pinball.
Anger — She was only 61.
Hope — Carol got us closer to finding a cure for cancer. When chemo failed, she agreed to enter a clinical trial, educating us along the way and assuaging our worry by her bold claim to be the next medical miracle.
Sadness — She wanted to see her grandkids grow. With a passel of my own, I know the feeling.
Joy — At having been blessed to have her in my life.
Resentment — Cancer has taken away too many, too soon. Among them family and friends, casual to best as relationships go.
I write this to instigate my own healing. For a writer, translating thoughts into words is cathartic, much like a painter finds when brushing color to canvas.
Carol reveled in color, drawn to the day lilies she cultivated in her garden. She knew the name of each variety, but more importantly, she knew what is took for each one to thrive — and she provided it.
She similarly nurtured college and high school students so that they might blossom into journalists. As editor of the Joplin (Missouri) Globe, she was a caring guide, leading her staff to excellence as they fed on her passion for community journalism.
She expected much and gave more. You know people like her. You’ve lost loved ones like her.
To “lose” someone through death leaves us alone with our movie of memories, the film flapping as the spool winds slowly to a stop. We can replay it, but we cannot make a sequel. At least not here, in our earthbound existence.
Followers of Christianity and Islam believe we will be reunited with our loved ones in a life after this one. I pray they are right.
The thought of it lightens the load, but as one box is lifted from the trailer hauling my emotions, another box is tossed on top.
We yearn for one more hug, and it’s so damn unfair that another embrace will never happen.
We mourn the dead and fear our own future without them, their laughter silenced, their counsel heard no more.
Unless … what was that?
You can almost hear their laughter, as it echoes off your mind’s ear. And their words are etched in your notebook of memories.
Maybe, they are not lost after all. Maybe, that ache you feel is just them settling into the room in your heart that you made for them years ago.
Thump thump … thump thump … thump thump…
Love everlasting. Amen.
— Susan Duncan is the editor of the News and Tribune. Reach her at 812-206-2130 and firstname.lastname@example.org.