Monday, July 19, 2010

In Memoriam

I can scarcely believe I have to write something like for the second time in two weeks, but life can be senselessly cruel sometimes and write it I must. I just found out via Facebook that a childhood friend of my, Alex Myers, has passed away at the age of 27. I say friend, but he was really more like a cousin, the male cousin I never had; he was the son of my father's best friend, and our families often took trips together when I was young - ski vacations, camping trips, and the like, during which he, my brother, and I got up to all sorts of trouble. I had talked to him a few times over the past year or so, and things were going very well for him - he had a serious girlfriend, and was finishing up law school in Los Angeles, and a whole life of glorious possibility open before him. That it was not to be realized was sad, but sadder still is the loss for his family. When Alex was still a child, his mother died of lupus, and as painful as the loss is to those of us who knew Alex from something of a distance, it can only be unimaginably moreso for his father, Greg Myers, a kind and decent man if I've ever met one. His stepmother Laura, and his step-siblings Michael and Kelley also loved Alex dearly, and theirs is a family that has endured more heartache than I feel I can summon words to console.

I am not inclined to orthodox religious practice, but I find it a natural instinct to pray at times like these. It is not may not be reasonable to ask for solace for people I happen to know from a vast and inscrutable universe, but this is one time in life when reason is of little use in trying to cope. No amount of introspection or rationalization can make sense of the death of one so young, no dry and abstract consolation can be found by framing the matter of a life cut short in a different way, and the pain of grief, for my own loss, but more achingly for the losses of others I am powerless to make whole, makes me disinclined to try. All we have when fate kicks us in the gut in this way is to hold on to whatever will get us through the moment, and to cry out - one of the first human experiences we have when we come into this world. Tennyson, a man who knew something of grief, said it better than I can in In Memoriam:
So runs my dream, but what am I?
An infant crying in the night
An infant crying for the light
And with no language but a cry.
Farewell, friend. I will always cherish my memories of you, and though time may allow me to accept that you are gone, the sadness of knowing you will make no more of them, for me or for anyone else who knew and loved you, will always endure.

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