My dear young friend
Thirty years ago, next month, I stayed where you are today, having lost a friend who had only just begun to live her life. Don’t try to make sense of it. It will never make sense.
But, thirty years after those painful days after the death and burial of my own friend, there are things that might help you, coming from someone who has also faced confusion, loneliness, and the emptiness of experience at a young age. The most important lesson you will learn is one that you will not be able to fully appreciate for many, many years. That lesson is that you will never forget and the memory of your friend will somehow reverberate in your life throughout your days.
David Eagleman wrote: “There are three deaths. The first is when the body stops functioning. The second is when the body is sent to the grave. The third is that time, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken in name of the last time. “Those words are very true.
During these first days of confusion, people may try to comfort you, and someone will inevitably tell you that you have your friend in your memory. You will be too hurt to fully acknowledge how deep and true those words are and what they will mean in the future.
You see, hours will pass, they will turn into days and little by little they will give way to months and years. Holidays and special occasions will come and go. The seasons will change. Someday, you might get married and have kids of your own. You will carry on with your life. That is your responsibility and what you must do. But what you experience this week will never go away and it will change you forever.
Your friend’s voice will, over time, disappear in your memory. It has to so that you can heal. His smell. His laugh and smile. Her face. Everything that is so vivid now and that you will do your best not to forget will eventually fade around the edges. That is what needs to happen so that you can move on with your life. But know this, she will never completely disappear and this is how it should be.
One day many years from now, you will hear a song that he loved, or a band, and you will think about it. You will have a very special day like a wedding or the birth of your child and you will remember your friend. You will be sitting on the beach one night and watching a spectacular sunset, you will be grateful to be alive to see it and your mind will wander to your friend. You will find yourself comforting a young man like you, as I have done several times now since that terrible time almost thirty years ago, and you will think of your friend.
And, what you will realize with age and time, is that your friend has never left you, and that will become an incredible comfort. Because as you get older and more people around you inevitably begin to pass, you will find that there is a lot of truth in the words of David Eagleman. There are three dead. And, as long as you keep the memory of your friend in your mind and heart, a part of your friend will truly stay alive as long as you live.
Thirty years later, you will find comfort in knowing that the memory is kind. Wherever you go, whatever you do, no one can take your friend’s memory. And, in those moments in which your image returns to the foreground for whatever reason, you will understand and feel peace in the truth that memory provides comfort and memory does serve to keep someone alive, like an enigmatic fog that suddenly appears. and looms over her. the atmosphere after a summer rain.
You don’t know when you will think of your friend one day. Days, months and years can go by. But suddenly, she is there and present in your mind. And you will hear a brief echo of his voice. You will be able to see in your mind a fleeting image of his face. And you will know that it is still alive in some ethereal way because you still have it in your memory.