Another friend has passed away. He beat cancer four years ago. Earlier this year, he said it had returned. Last time I saw him, he looked wan, gaunt, tired. He had beautiful brown eyes which glint with humor, mischief, and intelligence. All were absent that last time that I saw him. He didn’t speak much. He told us he was going to a family reunion in Europe. On his return two months ago, he told us that he was withdrawing from our weekly beer group meetup. I had a bad feeling.
But I’m not here to grieve. Grieving has worn me down. Death, sickness, and illness are all regular segments in the great cycle of life. Better instead to celebrate the friendships and love of these people who complete the circle and go on. We don’t know what they go on to. I just know what he’s left behind. I’m pleased that he took time to be a friend and join me to tip back a beer once a week and talk politics, philosophy, science, art, pop culture, music, and literature. He’d tell me about his life and his travels, how much he loved his father and sisters, what he and his daughter do as traditions, how proud he was of her.
I cherish those days and will as long as I can. And I will celebrate that such a person lived. My face still hurts with feelings of loss and tears sully my vision, but that’s me wallowing in self-pity that I lost such a friend. No more, no more. I will celebrate the human I knew and how he made me laugh, think, and wonder. And sometimes I’ll raise a beer and have a drink, and smile, as if he’s still there.