This morning I was blindsided by the “on this day” section of Facebook. I am telling you all this TimeHop, looking back at the years of your life isn’t the greatest thing in the world. I guess I lost track of the days again, because I gasped when I realized it was February 26th, again.
That word makes you realize you’ve faced this morning seven times. That it has been seven years since you’ve heard his laugh or seen his name come across your phone. Seven years since the late night conversations stretched miles apart - the time zone difference that made conversations even more hilarious. Seven years since his amazing smile and light up the room personality left us.
This morning all the feelings that I had seven years ago rush back, fill my chest and come pouring out in tears. Hopeless, saddened to the core of my being, left just hollow, fortunately only for a few moments. Each year I say, “I am not going to turn to a hot mess of tears and snot this year”, but the tears they don’t really care about my plans for today they need to flow.
I’ve cried more often this past year over the passing of James because as I have work through my crap, I’ve realized that he was always - when we were younger and as adults - the one relationship with a guy that had an opportunity to, but never lead to more than just really good friendship. There was a connection there from the start, but never more than a strong bond, a great fellowship. It was safe for me, in a way it was probably safe for him.
I remember earlier this year, sitting with my lunch watching James’ nephew on Pacific Warriors and being completely shocked at the grief I still had. His nephew always brings back so many James memories, their appearance is similar and they have this “no fear, take life by the horns” mentality. I knew that seeing Jason would bring back memories of James, but I was caught completely off guard when James’ face appeared on the screen. I was shocked at that moment by how much grief I still carried.
As, I flip back through my journal to that day in October and then to what I wrote this day last year the same theme runs through my writing:
I mourn what could have been for his life - for all the things he had left to do here.
Last year I wrote, “I am not meant to know all the answers, but I am meant to have faith, that God knew the plan he had for James’ life. While I sit everything year in tears of mourning going through the could-have-been’s of his life I feel God’s nudge this year to remember the things he did achieve and the lives he did touch in his 30 years because, trust me he did leave a mark on so many. “
I don’t think there is anyway around the pure suckiness (like that adjective) of today - it just sucks, but that seems to be life - sometimes it just sucks. As we sit on this side of heaven we will always face days like today. Days that didn’t need to happen (at least in our earthly opinion), days where senseless acts and tragic mistakes changed our lives. I wish I had encouragement, that I could give you a list of the 10 things you do on the anniversary of your best friend’s death, but I don’t - I can’t. Today we cry, we hold onto our faith as we wish that we had just one more day, one more phone call, one more hug. Today, we let ourselves be a hot mess and tomorrow we continue to live forever changed by who he was.