I’m 25 years old and I feel like I’ve lost more friends than most people twice my age.
It started with one of my best friends our senior year of high school. We had known each other since preschool age, he was my biggest crush throughout middle school, and in high school he was the big brother I never had, the person I could sit next to and talk about anything, the person that took care of car batteries that were dead and blown tires on the side of the road. Then one day he was gone.
A couple years later I lost another good friend to cancer. Yes cancer, the non-prejudiced disease that takes children, college students, parents, and grandparents. Even though it wasn’t completely unexpected, it was still hard to take, he was the high school athlete that played year round and later turned volunteer firefighter. The guy that took the ‘ugly girl’ to prom so she wouldn’t feel left out, went through bouts of rebellion and then returned the next week to youth group to share why it was so important to maintain a healthy relationship with God.
Two years ago I lost my best girlfriend in an unavoidable motorcycle accident. She left behind a husband and three babies ranging from 3 years to 2 months. Our friendship had started with me ‘babysitting’ as our mothers called it and yet to us, we were just hanging out. I saw her get married, I witnessed the birth of her firstborn, and much to her husband’s disappointment I was the one that collapsed when Jeremiahs sweet head crowned.
This year started with the births of two amazing little boys between January and March but then in May I held a tiny baby boy the day before he left to be with our great comforter and healer. I lost an aunt, an uncle, and a grandparent between August and December this year and yet, God wasn’t quite finished. Three days ago a dear friend held her husband as he took his last breath. This phenomenal man, husband and father left this world for a better place.
I was in shock, still am actually, and I wonder, how do we survive these tragedies? Obviously these people go on surviving in our minds, we see their faces in other people still living, we dream about them, and we hear the song that was played at their funerals and it takes us back to that moment in time. There have been so many times in the past 8 years that I’ve wondered, ‘am I next?’ I know, that is not the way to be thinking, especially with my belief in the law of attraction, but honestly, I can’t help it. I see other friends and family that have lost just like I have and they seem to be coping just fine. Yes, we cry and reminisce about the old days, but I honestly feel like I just can’t quite keep it together like they appear to be doing. What is their secret? How do we continue on with our lives when it seems like another loss is waiting right around the corner. The answer lies within our hearts, where the knowledge of what is to come after this life overwhelms my very being. You see, I know where all these loved ones are now, and the very best part is that I know I will join them someday. I pray every day, multiple times even that I won’t be joining them anytime soon, but I do know that day will come and I will have a huge party of people waiting to welcome me into heaven. Unfortunately this knowledge doesn’t make the loss any less painful but as my dear friend Tricia put it “Thank you that we do not grieve as those who have no hope.” I know that I have hope in our awesome God and that, I believe, is the reason that we have comfort from within.