After each death, I realize how large of a gift every person is to this world.  We are each other’s gifts, and that is all that matters.  Why focus on things other than the people around us?  The ones in whom I find great joy, comfort, and everlasting love–they deserve my focus.  Instead, I focus on all the things that I *think* will make me a better person.  I work myself raggedly until all I can think about is shutting myself away from the world.  This is wrong, and in this moment, as I ache, I resent the world that praises me for doing this.

I learned about death at the age of 14.  Some of my friends had lost grandparents; I lost a friend.  She was taken violently, and that experience has marked every experience I’ve had with death since.  Car crashes, illnesses, suicides, even murders–all of these are lessons in death that have taught me more about living than anything else.   I have learned to seek out what is good and beautiful in the world.  To hold it close, and then to let it go.  I have learned to take the time to praise small fortunes like the first patch of daisies in Spring, or an excellent cup of coffee.  I have learned about reconciliation, to say that I’m sorry and to mean it.  More importantly, I have learned to say “I love you” and to mean it.  To look into the eyes of a person and see the humanity coursing in their pupils telling me a sad, beautiful story.  In this, I have learned to appreciate my life for all of its wondrously chaotic splendor.  To love all of the mistakes I’ve made that have lead me to be exactly who I am in this moment.  Through all of it, I have learned to be, and to pray, and to cry.  These are all skills that I need.

As I write this, I can feel sobs welling up in my throat.  It’s far too soon to have lost someone else.  I get to go through relearning all of these lessons again.  I get to remember that I’m never done learning them, and that after each death comes its own unique process.  What will this one bring?

RIP Josh.  I will write you an excellent song, my friend.

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