Two Reasons Why it Sucks When Somebody You Love Dies

I am still walking through this time of learning what it means to have lost my mom. I guess I will for a while.
The thing I am thinking about is how everybody in our lives knows, in a way a different part of us. There are intersections, parts of us that everybody knows. For example, lots of people– pretty much every body in my life– know my deep and abiding love for really bad puns.
But there are sides of us that only certain people of us see. In some cases, maybe they knew us way back when, so they have this different perspective of how we came to be who we are today. My mom, for example, might see my love of nature having arisen from my years as a boy scout. This is not a piece of my history I often divulge, so others might not get it. In other cases, they just might be equipped to know us on some deep level. I inherited stuff from mom. She formed me in all kinds of figurative and literal ways. And then again, there are shared experiences. Massachusetts’ blizzard of 1977, for example. I have only vague memories of that. And yet, they shaped me, they shaped her, and if you weren’t in Massachusetts, then, you were shaped by things that are different.
This realization that the ‘Jeff’ she new is dead, in a way, shames me. Because gone with mom are all kinds of things that had nothing to do with me. A friend of hers from her earliest years (through now) sat with us at the celebration afterward. She had all these great stories about their childhood. I was able to grasp on to some of them.
But for every story of a person we can put to words… there are things that we know about them that can’t be expressed. I set out wanting to write about something entirely different. But this is a place I needed to start, I guess.
One of the ways we die along with our loved ones is that the way they knew and loved us goes with them.
One of the tragedies of dying is that there is so much wisdom and knowledge that goes with the person that is bigger than us.
I believe we will be together again. But until then, I am sad.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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