Tomorrow is a day I’m sure you had hoped never to see this young. Tomorrow you will gather with friends and family to commemorate the person you have loved the most completely – the one you whispered to in the dark and woke up beside, the one you could talk to across a crowded room with just a glance and a grin. Your love. The father of your children. Your best friend. Tomorrow you will celebrate this life and mourn its end.
If I could be there with you tomorrow I probably wouldn’t say much. I would give you a hug. I would tell you that if there were anything I could do in the weeks and months ahead – anything – to just call me, and I would mean it. But during those charged hours surrounding the memorial service I would be wary of further burdening you with my memories and my own raw emotions.
I can’t be there, though. I’m oceans and miles away and all I have to offer during this time are words.
The last time we all had dinner together is almost two years ago now. On that cold evening your house was a refuge for me from all the pressures of preparing to move half a world away. I sat by the fire with a glass of wine, watching you put dinner together in the kitchen and listening to him act out a bedtime story about spaceships in the next room. We laughed and talked together until almost eleven that night about the toys we played with as children, about solar panels and living simply, about marriage, faith, and whether there was ultimately more to life than even these most incandescent mortal moments of warm fireplaces and good friends.
We all said that we thought there was.
Tomorrow you will say a difficult farewell. Or, rather, you will take one big step along a harrowing journey of bidding goodbye, because your life together cannot be summed up in one public gathering. You will say your goodbyes a thousand times in a thousand ways during the days ahead.
But in the grand scheme of things – in the sweep of life that extends beyond the years we live here – I do not believe this is a final farewell. I believe it is farewell, for now.
I am thankful for that, and I am so thankful for all the moments I was able to share with you both over the years. I will be thinking of him tomorrow – of that dry wit that he always wielded with kindness and of the way that he tackled life with zest and integrity. And I will be thinking of you as you grieve his absence, and as you and others open up the storehouses of your memories and pour forth treasures in celebration of the life of an extraordinary man.