Pogue, our friend died today. Quietly, gently they passed from us, they slipped from this world and, as you and I believe, went to a better one. For a while now we have known the days were growing short and although this knowledge helped each to ready themselves, an overwhelming sadness still immersed us all as much as the inevitable wave will cover the sand. The energy was momentarily sucked from the day and each of us, wherever we were, I’m sure, stopped to breath deeply for a minute or two. No shock, no surprise but still moments filled by rushing emotions. However prepared we were, we were not prepared. There are no words.
It could be that the weeks leading up to this, the inevitability of it all meant that all that needed to be said, all that required words to make it understandable, it had all been spoken. So silence was the appropriate comment and there are moments when silence speaks more eloquently than all the poets combined.
In a manner we had been blessed, many of us blessed because of the opportunity to revisit the occasions that had been shared. To talk through the feelings, the humour, the interests that had been so much a part of the journey taken together. Opportunity to ponder the things that will long be valued. To listen to the account of a life well lived. The tales of travel. The adventures. It was a privileged time. One that many who shared those last days will hold onto and cherish. They are lessons to tell us, each and everyone of us, to live life to the fullest that we possibly can with the hand we have been dealt. Lessons from a moment when the coming finality focused our minds in a manner they are seldom focused. And we each know, in these days, how temporary and fragile life really is. Use it wisely Pogue. A life well lived is surely a gift from a loving God.
Then as the realisation finally sank in and we each made peace with our own particular memories our spirits should have begun to lighten because beyond our sadness, beyond the rightful indulging of our sense of loss, so appropriate at this time, there was joy to be had. Our friend had laid low a deteriorating and confining body to take wings to what is yet to come. C.S.Lewis called it “the great adventure” that goes on and on, the first chapter of the great story which is now being entered into.
This is where you and I should rest tonight, thankful that our friend now is present in a love far greater than even the purest love received in this life. There are no words we know to describe it. Our language fails us. So, tonight we will believe that this really was the commencement of “the great adventure” for our friend. The beginning of a time too wonderful for us to even imagine.
So, miss our friend, feel the gap but don’t let sadness overcome you. Cry tears but let the edges be coloured by joy. Step into the space left so that the circle is not broken and so, each one of us will know there are others with them. Hug and promise support where it is needed, for some will need it.
But sleep, not in sadness but in the knowledge of our friend’s sure joy.
Yours, with sadness and joy,