Standing beside my scorching hot mini van I squint at my friend as he lifts his hand. “See you on the other side,” he says as a farewell.
He means, I assume, the other side of his birthday, my move, something literal. But given the news of the morning, and my 5 week “Fringe” marathon a small piece of me wonders.
The text came on my drive in to town. “Did you hear about D? Died at 51 of a heart attack, working out.” No. I hadn’t heard. I hadn’t really liked him much. He and I were both brusque, opinionated, hurried, in our shared post. He was much better versed in the field, and I respected his immense knowledge. He was a bit authoritarian which was probably what rubbed me the wrong way. I imagine if I had known him in another context I would have had entirely different feelings. As it was he was chair of a board that I sat on…and as such was someone I was forced to rebel against…as is my nature. What he was most of all though, was ALIVE. He was IN IT. Whatever it was. I never saw him shrug his shoulders and say…”either way, it doesn’t really matter.” It all mattered to him, and both the fact and the manner in which he chaired our board showed it. I was glad to have been able to sit by his side for two years.
A second text, from a friend often on the road says: “Home for 2 days, my son changed, weird.” Again, I can only suppose his meaning, but this boy is growing up, arriving in this world. Here from the other side.
One arriving, one departing.
I wonder about the other side of grief. What is it? Gratitude?
I am feeling gratitude. And hot. I am also feeling hot. Already the big meta thoughts are drifting away to the minutae. What to eat. How to get my kids to pick up their socks. How to get my kids to SEE their socks in order to pick them up. How incredibly mushy graham crackers get in the humidity. The details of life on this side.
Thank you D for your passion, and your hearty laugh. Thank you for the time that you offered your community from what you did not know would be a too short life. Here’s to hoping there is an other side.