I am unable to quite say goodbye, because in many ways I’m still in denial that you’re gone. It was only a short time that you were in our lives, but the vacuum you have left in your absence is one that will take years to fill. Maybe you remind me of the child I should have had – intelligent, funny, peaceful, passionate, and loving. What wasn’t there to love about you? I had never actually seen you mad, despite your sisters’ taunts and the painful ordeal that took you away from us all.
It feels like yesterday that we heard that something wasn’t right. That something would never be right. And I cried that day for you. I was so afraid of what you must be thinking. To believe that something is wrong with you is something that I never wished for you. Someone so perfect shouldn’t leave this life thinking that they were wrong somehow. But, that was the case and you drew the short straw on health. Yet, in other things you were so rich. After all, you had me at hello and I decided that you’d be mine forever.
Forever was so short though. And I have not yet made peace enough to say goodbye. As the pastor said so rightly at your funeral, we all thought we’d see you lead this country. We had such high hopes for all that you’d bring to this world. In your eyes there were experiences that many ten times your age had never seen. And in that big brain of yours there was the imagination of a man who would bring us solutions. You always had an answer and, oddly enough, it was easy. Never harsh, always thoughtful, and so simple. Be nice and do the right thing.
But God had/s other plans for you that are bigger than our plans.
As tio told me as I sobbed, “you feel like destiny cheated you, right?” Well, I certainly could not have said it better. That’s exactly how I feel. I feel robbed. I feel mad and I feel wronged. I feel confused about where to direct my rage and my emptiness. And you, my love, aren’t here. I can’t imagine what your parents are feeling, because they saw this day well before we all did. I can’t imagine what they think of my outburst of emotion. I can’t imagine so many things, including a world without you and with it all the big plans we had.
When I heard you were gone I knew for sure that I’d have to revisit a conversation I had with God about this time three years ago. It’s an old wound that gets reopened on occasion, but after you – I’ll need stitches.
God and I had many a biting conversation at that time and in that ordeal I grew some level of respect, rather than fear for the big “G.” What I learned then is that peace is a painful process. It isn’t a simple resignation to allow events to occur around us. Instead, it’s a constant cerebral negotiation between logic and emotion, participation and recusal, love and loss. What all this pondering and crying brought me was an understanding that forgiveness is an act that I don’t need to engage in with humans. It is the one act that I reserve fully for God. With humans I come to peace, but with God I have to forgive. Not that God needs my forgiveness, but much like with terrorists you can’t negotiate with God. In my mind, that ends the conversation on peace.
The terms and conditions of peace are beyond me when the power dynamic is just so skewed. There’s an end game that’s beyond this generation or the next. There are puzzle pieces that are unseen and there are reasons that are never articulated. In the end, peace is a game of war for equals. Forgiveness, however, is an individual and personal choice.
So, I knew the day that I heard you were gone, I would have to work privately to measure my forgiveness quotient again. I’d have to forgive God for taking you away, for cheating us of what you were supposed to become. I’d have to forgive God for thinking that you were more needed elsewhere, beyond where you were loved beyond words. I’d have to forgive God for making you leave this world in such a harsh way. And I’d have to forgive God for thinking that all of this was right, when it is so apparent to all of us who knew and loved you that this… this… was wrong.
So, while you’re up there and fraternizing with the big “G,” do me a solid. Maybe your being there is an opportunity to speak truth to power. In your easy, imaginative, solution minded way, could you explain that this really sucks for us? Empathy maybe is a human emotion that we expect God to share, but perhaps that’s a faulty assumption. Could you maybe explain it – in very simple terms of course? It hurts to lose someone you love. And it’s very little consolation to think they’ve gone on to heaven. Physical and emotional pain linger for all of us, not just the one taken. We live hamstrung by survivor’s guilt. We feel lost for a time. We never really get to say goodbye and our hearts are never fully at peace. By we, I mean I. But, I can’t be alone in this.
I hope you remember that we love you very much, present tense. Your 5 short years were so action packed that we’ll be talking about them the rest of our life time. We hope that you know that our absence from your life isn’t our choice and that your absence from ours is no one’s fault. That, my love, is your homework for the next life time. And we’ll all be very appreciative to you for it.
With that, I simply want to say that we love you. We can’t forget you. And I hope you’re simply not resting in peace. I hope you’re giving the next world all the greatness and joy you planned to give to us. Such talent can’t be wasted and such love can’t be for naught.