My friend died April 6. He wrote me the week prior telling me he was fading. That he was quite ready. He told me he loved me. I never thought a week later he’d be gone.
After a year of dealing with post dental trauma from aggressive dental work that had caused a stroke, severe nerve damage and tinnitus, he had had enough. Please read his words: Dear Friends…
Despite knowing he was preparing to leave soon when I heard the news I felt as though I had been punched in the chest. My heart ripped from my body. Death is fucked up.
I met Liam over a year ago after having watched a few of his videos on his FB page. I fell in love with his mind instantly. I was blown away by his depth of knowledge; his fierce common sense wisdom, his intense studious uncovering of truth. He had an unapologetic strength in his knowing. He had insight into how this world works that I had never come across before.
When people came at him with old stories, the ones that continue to cripple us as a species, he wasn’t afraid to rip them apart along with their silly ideologies. He was equally as kind, gentle and extremely funny ~ saucy even.
After viewing one of his videos I contacted him. I never expected a reply I just wanted to tell him that I got him. I got what he was saying and what he was saying spoke to long quietened chords buried beneath parenthood, daily responsibilities, lack of sleep, cloudy thoughts. I was a harp, his thoughts and words were the musician playing me. He offered me a glimpse into my old self, the self who lived vibrantly searching for truth, living without apology. Our friendship quickly grew and funny challenging conversations ensued. A mutual respect and admiration was immediately revealed.
There are times in life when you are lucky and blessed ~ truly, truly blessed ~ to meet another soul who feels like home. Home. Where you understand each other so easily it is as if you have known each other for a lifetime, perhaps many. Friends. Loving friendship. I am truly blessed to have had Liam as my friend. I am honored to have known him.
I have witnessed much death in the last 6 years. My mother died almost 6 years ago, my father a few years later. I have trudged through the trenches of loss with much pain and trauma. My mother was my best friend, watching her go through years of pain, cancer “treatment”, surgery… caring for her day and night for months before her passing, holding her head still while she had a stroke, injecting morphine every half hour to manage her pain the night before she passed, holding her head again during the ambulance ride to the palliative care center… holding her hand while she took her final breath… my heart and soul have been stretched and pulled and burned by pain and loss. I know it well.
But I was feeling lighter these past few months… the cloud was lifting as I grew into the grief. Knowing now that it will never really go away, it just settles into itself in a manageable way like sifting flour into a bowl. It settles and sets, you can mold it and shift it but it’s always there. I thought ~ foolishly ~ that I got it. I got pain. I got mourning and death. But here I find myself mourning a friend whom I knew was leaving us and soon. But still. The pain. The pain of loss is crippling. Breathing takes more effort. Smiles are gone. Eating seems optional. Although despite this pain the beauty of this world is blinding, in glimpses.
One thing about grieving I have noticed is… regret. Which is so selfish. It becomes about *I* rather than the person who died. How could I have done more? Why didn’t I seize the opportunity to chat more often, help more, say I love you more, to see past my everyday and make them a priority rather than my incessant inner dialogue of how important my not-important shit is.
If we reflect on the person, what they wanted, how they died and how they lived, then there would be little room to put ourselves into the equation. The pain of their death is ours to carry but it doesn’t need to be compounded by “I didn’t do enough”. That won’t bring them back and it will only rob us of living with peace in our hearts.
The blessing in making it about *I* is to reflect and learn the most valuable lesson ~ which was Liam’s note to the world as well; love each other fully and deeply without reserve. Would it not serve me to look at those whom I love and ask everyday: if they were to die today could I look back on our time spent and be at peace with how I treated them, loved them, helped them, valued them, told them? Don’t ask these questions once your loved ones are gone, by then it’s too late. Death is Final. There is no next week, next time, tomorrow or when I can. It is the final curtain call never to rise again.
Liam wrote: “Remember to live. Don’t be a cog in the machine, goddamn it. Goddamn the machine. Make sure to challenge the perceptions; make sure to breathe deeply. Make sure to tell your loved ones that you love them. Easy to say, not impossible to do.”
I’m so lucky to have known two of the most incredible souls to walk this planet. I witnessed both face death with dignity and courage, under very different circumstances although both equally inspirational. I am grateful they are no longer suffering, I am grateful for the love that lives on in my heart because of them and for them.
Maybe Liam was right… maybe there is no “I”. Maybe the love that lives in my heart and your heart for those who have gone and for those who are yet to be is all we really are…
… with that I am sending my love to the sun, to the moon, to my Mother, to Liam and to all who have passed on… I love you. I love you. I love you.
To all who are still here on this crazy, amazing, beautiful space ball I love you, I love you, I love you.
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.