Making Sense of Death: A Tribute to Lindsey
My phone slid out of my hand as tears began coursing down my face onto the pillow below. I'd been doing that thing I try hard not to do often... but I was mentally exhausted from the day and was mindlessly scrolling in bed as I nursed little Leo to sleep, Hallie on the other side of me. Amidst the fall family outings, memes, and familiar faces was the announcement that Lindsey, a high school classmate and friend, had passed away. She'd been battling cancer for just over two years and was now relieved of her physical form.
I was in disbelief. Thirty years old. One of the kindest souls you'd ever meet. How does this happen? It felt so hard to make sense of.
Though our journeys had drifted us apart the last decade of life, I found myself reflecting on the memories shared together. The many car rides around town blasting Ludacris and giggling hysterically at our own attempts to rap along. DECA trips, watching High School Musical together, homecoming weeks, high school sports games and concerts, study halls, and classes together. More than the physical happenings of these occasions... I was reflecting on how she made me FEEL.
She was one of those people (typing in past tense feels so odd) who made you feel warmer just in being with her. The kind who had such a loving heart paired with a silly, sarcastic sense of humor* that made you feel uplifted by being around her. When talking with her you felt truly listened to, and she was one of the most naturally joyful people I'd enjoyed time with growing up. She cared for others, so much so that it became her career.
Whether you knew her or not, you likely can relate to the memory of losing loved ones. It isn't necessarily the moments from a practical perspective that you remember most, though those are what first come to mind... it's how they made you feel. I'll forever be grateful for these feelings brought by time with her years ago, just as you are likely reminiscing on the feelings you experienced with cherished loved ones who have crossed over.
Thing is, as much as my chronically optimistic self would like to believe... we don't ALL get to heal and rise physically in this lifetime. Sometimes even the best of us will succumb to illness and diseases so cruel, they leave our loved ones burdened with the ache of this loss.
But thankfully, our bodies are only wrappings for these beautiful souls.
And sometimes, we release the limitations of these physical bodies so that our SOUL can heal and rise. So that we might guide others in lessons greater than we may have been able to while physically present. Perhaps in crossing over, we have the opportunity to become the greatest of spiritual guides, teachers, or angels for those we love.
There are many things we cannot fully understand. Like how the big C-word seems to steal away the most loving of people. Or how heart-breaking it is to lose a loved one twice, first when their mind is no longer fully theirs, and again when their body stops functioning. Or how unfair it is to watch a parent bury their child, knowing it's not supposed to be this way. But one thing we DO know is that love is infinite. It is the breath that keeps those mourning alive and going. It is what causes us to ache so deeply when we grieve. It is what makes these moments all worth it. It is the energy of existence that moves beyond this physical lifetime, connecting us all in this interwoven magical force. It lives within us, and continues to be felt by those we love long after we're gone.
When someone we've loved passes it puts things into perspective, the mundane tasks and to-do lists seem trivial. Those worries that occupied your mind only moments ago, seem pointless. What matters is the time spent with those you love. What matters is how you make them feel when they're around you. What matters is the mark you leave on the world through the interactions you have with others.
What matters is LOVE.
*As I was typing this exact sentence, my computer froze and a "We ran into a technical error and must reload. Your work may not be saved." message popped up. "Oh man... I thought... am I not supposed to be sharing this message? Lindsey, what would you want?" It reloaded slowly, making me think these writings thus far had been erased, only to have it all come back right to where I'd stopped. Right where I was writing about her sense of humor. I heard her distinct laugh and felt goosebumps on my skin as I heard a little "Gotcha!". Alright friend, thank you, message received!