In a nutshell, this post is about death.
It’s a difficult topic to talk about. It happens everyday, yet we never expect it to happen to our loved ones. When it does, it’s like the ground opens up from beneath us and we feel a loss that leaves a deep, irreplaceable hole in our hearts. Knowing we’ll never see that person again is probably the most difficult part of all; if we didn’t get to say our final goodbyes, that feeling of regret is something that stays with us forever.
Recently, a young man in my religious community was involved in a fatal accident. I never met him or his family, but my parents did and were able to attend his funeral. He was just 19 years old. When something so tragic happens to someone so young, there are no words to describe how unfair it is that that person didn’t get to live the long life they deserved. There were 2000 people at this young man’s funeral, though I’m sure that was just a fraction of the people who knew and loved him. From what I understand, he was a great son, a great friend, and a great brother. The sad part is that he’ll never get the chance to become a great father, a great husband, and a great grandpa. Life can be unfair, and what’s more, death can be unfair.
One of my favourite aunts passed away when I was in high school, and although I still carry that sadness around with me, I feel lucky that we knew her death was coming. Yes, she was young and vibrant. Yes, seeing her health deteriorate was incredibly hard to witness and is something I’ll never recover from. But we were given a chance to say goodbye, unlike the family of this young man. It is so horribly cruel that their goodbyes had to be at his funeral, after he was already gone.
I didn’t look into my aunt’s open casket at her funeral because I wanted to remember her in her prime: beautiful and happy, with a permanent smile that truly lit up rooms. I think of her as a ray of sunshine. That may not make sense to you, but to me, that’s just who she was. She was sunshine, to everyone that knew and loved her.
I don’t think we’ll ever understand why good people are taken from us. I like to think it’s because someone “upstairs” needed them more than we do here on Earth, though even that isn’t a good enough explanation. We’ve all known someone who’s passed away, and I think all we can do is to remember them at their best. That’s how they deserve to be remembered: full of love, laughter, and life.
RIP to all of them.