It’s after midnight. I should be in bed and asleep. These past two weeks have been a mash-up of blessings and great sadness. I struggled with putting into words the emotions I felt until now, Monday night, after midnight, with the news of a lost friend.
The metal hit the cold dirt, slicing through my dreamlike state. It was a cool morning, not yet 8:00 a.m., you could still see your breath. The shovel hit the dirt again and again. The hole needed to be bigger, deeper. It was Easter Sunday. Three days earlier we had the blessing of a little lamb. Born in our yard, strong, healthy and happy. I danced all day with joy.
Sunday morning I woke up, opened the shutters and saw my sister-in-law digging a hole in the dirt below. My first thought was the little lamb but thankfully she was spared. It was a new lamb, born perfect but dead. How can one reconcile this? What did she lack? What could we have done to prevent this? Why did this perfect lamb not survive the morning?
I was numb. I wanted to warm her body and breath life into her. I wanted to console the mother, whose cries continued for the next two days. She sat by the grave and mourned and there was nothing I could do or say that would ease her pain. I just had to remind myself that the first lamb was there, in front of me and a blessing.
Today, two weeks later, the lost lamb is a distant memory. Something I can now write about with a sense of detatchment. I can no longer see the grave and the mother has stopped crying for her lost baby.
But, death stares me in the face and wants me to take notice. I cannot escape her reality and she will not take no for an answer either.
Today I learned that I also lost a friend. Someone on the fringe of my life. Someone I hardly knew and tried to save. I was at the right place at the right time and did the right thing. I brought him to the hospital. I visited him and held his hand. I hugged him and reassured him that his life meant something and he got better. But did I really save him?
Months later, we resumed our casual friendship. I was afraid to pry into his personal life for fear of offending him or being intrusive. I went about my business and personal drama like it was the movie of the week. Our sporadic communication continued but I missed the cues. Somehow, I missed something. I was present but not really PRESENT.
I got caught up in petty fights and my own ego and then went away to Germany. I returned and realized that I never respeonded to a text message on my phone. My last contact was when I called my friend and he didn’t answer the phone.
Today, I learned that the police had to break down his door after five days of no communication with another friend. Inside, my friend laid lifeless in his home. He died alone. I have no idea if he suffered. If he died of natural causes or self inflicted
I’m trying hard to reconcile the fact that he is gone. A person I barely knew but someone who touched my life. Someone who perhaps I should have given more of my time and consideration. I wonder why. I wonder what was our brief encounter supposed to mean. I want his existence in my life to have some significance. I’m not really sure if that significance should have been for him or me. My selfish nature wants it to be for me.
In some ways I think I was just an obstacle for him, blocking him from his true Nirvana. He had no will or desire to live and yet I was inflicting on him what is expected. You should fight for your life at all costs. Is that fair? Realistic? It is his life. Why should I push someone to believe what I believe?
It’s going to take some time for all of this to percolate. I lost a lamb. I lost a friend. Both were perfect and flawed and there was nothing I could do to save either of them. I have to accept the will of nature. I have to accept sorrow and pain. In both instances, I mourn what could have been.
A friendship that skimmed the surface and was only starting to blossom. If there is any lesson here, it is simply that I want to be more present. More aware of the people around me whom I care about and less caught up in my own drama.