As I start to move past the death of my friend, I realize that it is never easy. While I put the pieces of my life back together again and move on with the daily routine, the realization is with me that something is missing, but not gone. The comforting knowledge that my friend was just a phone call or a text message away is useless now. Instead I will talk with him in other ways, those that mean more anyway.
My friend was one of the most awesome people the world has ever known. He had the gift of making everyone he came into contact with feel special. He had no normal friends, he made new members of his extended family almost instantly when he met someone new. Hal and I never saw their house when it was not filled with people. Neighbors, friends, family, were all interchangeable to him.
People never truly leave us if we remember them. Their echoes are all around us if we choose to accept them. For my friend, it is the relationships not just with him and his family, but with all sorts of other people that we came to know through him that are his biggest legacy to me. Something that I can try my best to emulate, although it will be a pale shadow of what he was able to do.
I wish that I had known how my friend viewed himself. Like most of us, I am sure that he had his own doubts, but he hid them well. Perhaps he had broken through that limitation that we all face after all. Regardless, the things that he leaves us with are far too precious to take for granted. His gift of making friends and connecting people remains with us all, if we choose to acknowledge it. We have that choice as we all move forward.
And so, the empty time begins. The void is huge right now. Time heals all wounds, but we cannot rush the process. We incorporate his loss into our own lives and move forward until the sense of loss recedes to something more manageable for us. The intensity of the loss will affect all who knew him in different ways, so we have to be there to support one another. Regardless of how the impact manifests itself, we will all be there for each other. The process takes each of us down a different path, but we will all reach the same goal. Ironically, that will be the same thing that we have all talked about for the last week, and that is how fortunate we all were to have Donald in our lives.
We all have to go through the Empty Time like some macabre roller coaster ride that never seems to end, but it will. Some of us will master the ride more quickly than others, we have to be there to help those who are still stuck on the ride. That is the immediate common experience that we share right now, it is a prt of life. Just remember that the real ride goes on. It is full of joy and heartache and we have to embrace all of it in order to make it worthwhile. Live life to the fullest, there is no guarantee that it will always be pleasant, or turn out the way that we want it to. The lows will bring emphasis to the highs, and vice versa. This is living, and it is what Donald taught us to do.