In Memory of a Friend

by Carolin Messier

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In my feed today
following a post professing that
Pain is part … of being alive
I learned that a friend had died.
We were not close
but we had shared my table,
we had shared wine in Spain,
and we were adjacent links
in a human chain
that had brought two beautiful people
from separate hemispheres
together, into love.
He was too young.
I was surprised.
But when I learned
that last night
he took his own life
I was not shocked.
He had a loving husband
a successful business
spoke two languages
and had flawless skin.
He was loved
liked
admired
appreciated
and respected.

I should have been shocked.
He had everything to live for.

But in a Universe where
a fiancé can set a wedding date
and kill himself two weeks later,
nothing shocks me.

In a Universe where
a healthy woman smiles with her son
then falls from a lethal stroke that same day,
nothing shocks me.

In a Universe where
miracles bring people together
but the deepest love isn’t enough,
nothing shocks me.

I long to be shocked.
I long for that innocence.
Instead I am numb, in shock.
Not into disbelief.
I deeply believe
that anything is possible
that bad things happen to good people
that most of us are one tragedy away from
living on the streets
or losing our minds.
I believe that my heart will be broken
many more times-
I hope, by the same person
because we don’t always get it right
and we hurt
and are hurt
and keep trying.

I’m one of the lucky ones,
one of the alive ones
who gets to keep trying
to be kinder
more caring
a better partner and friend,
who gets to face my fears
and live open-heartedly,
who gets to risk loving deeply
even if I’m not ready,
who gets to be humble
and apologize to the elk
for a failed promise.

And so I
go on living and feeling and loving
through the numbness and ache
because I’m one of the lucky ones
because Pain is part … of being alive.