Often times I wonder . . . if Andy were still alive what would he be doing right now with his life. Would he be happy? Isn’t that what we all want for our children, for ourselves, for those we love? If you have an open heart, it’s what we want for all people – for everyone to be happy.
I don’t know what Andy’s life would be like if he were still alive in a physical body. I don’t know what our relationship would be like if he had never gotten ill and his life would have carried on however it was meant to. One can never know what the future holds or how life can change in an instant.
What I have right now are just memories, and those memories change as I grow older and my life unwittingly moves forward.
My reflections on Andy come unplanned and unprovoked. Many times I find a wave of grief or loss in the spaces between hurried activity, when I’m alone or feeling lonely, and there is hollowness or something missing. I recognize this feeling as a hole or a void. It is the place that Andy used to inhabit in my psyche, in my world, in my arms. For 24 years of my life.
His life was a source of my joy, my pleasure, my happiness. We shared a life and we shared death. Together we learned from each other (maybe I have learned more from him?). We explored and discovered what was most important in this life. What we found might surprise you. What’s important is not about what you accomplish or achieve, or to be recognized and acknowledged, it’s how you treat the world. What’s important is to be kind, to be compassionate, and to love deeply.
When I see someone who is ill or disabled or even old, my heart goes out to them in empathy of the suffering they must endure. There are so many whose suffering we can see from the outside – the ill and infirm, the homeless and those that have been systemically oppressed. There are also so many who suffer in silence, for whom we can’t see their illness, hardship or their loss or grief. Because I have experienced both: watching someone I love suffer through a painful illness and suffering through incredible loss, it has made me much more sensitive to everyone I come in contact with, because I understand deeply, we all suffer.
Through the suffering, I have found an inner resolve . . . despite the pain of this deep loss (which is universal) I persevere and find the energy and courage to be kind, to be compassionate and to love deeply without expectations of anything in return.