I've found myself reflecting a lot on death this past weekend, but not simply because of Holy Week. In fact, death has taken up quite a bit of my headspace over the past several months.
Every once in a while, I scroll over to my friend Kaity's Instagram page. I do it more frequently now than I used to right after she died- staring at her feed and her very last post dated back in October. The abruptness with which it just stopped still feels like a gut punch.
I regularly drive past the house of one of Olive's beloved preschool teachers who passed away very suddenly last fall- the two lawn chairs in her front yard still untouched- just as they were before she died. I sometimes still have to remind myself that she's gone, even though it's been months since she stopped showing up every morning at her preschool.
This past week, a cathedral- hundreds of years old- nearly burned to to the ground- a disquieting reminder that what we assume will always be there, won't. At least, not in the same capacity we want it to.
Interruptions are inevitable. Momentum is lost. Relapse occurs. The ashes of the beautiful and beloved around us fall. And when they do, it will always catch us off-guard, even when we brace ourselves for it. For the most part, I feel like I've gotten my head around this- but my heart is another matter. We're often told that "death is a friend," but it's one that I have yet to get comfortable with, no matter how many times- and ways- I experience it. I was driving home one day this week when an old Alanis Morisette song came on (of the not-angry variety) and it was the first time I really paid attention to the lyrics- particularly at the end.
"How about no longer being masochistic?"
"How about remembering your divinity?"
"How 'bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out?"
"How about not equating death with stopping?"
And there it is- a rhetorical question that points to a much bigger truth: That amidst unspeakable loss, the derailment of plans and the relinquishing of control, the gut-punch of grief and goodbyes- is always an open invitation to recognize and embrace our own Divinity, and to reframe the way we view our heartbreak.
In fact, that's the only way we get to Hope.