Day 896- Passed Away Unexpectedly

This morning, as I rise to face another day of darkness and cold (early December in Ohio), as I am discouraged by the futility of my efforts and feeling sorry for myself, I spot a Facebook status update from my friend Geo saying “Lost My Life Today”.  I’m thinking “The Steelers won.  It can’t be that. (Geo is a huge Steelers fan)  Maybe he lost his job.  Maybe his dog died.”.  I scroll through the comments to see what the deal is, then I see it. “…my wife passed away unexpectedly today.”  The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  Memories of June 24, 2015 come flooding back and the tears flow as I feel Geo’s pain.

I study death, every day.  Literally every day I think about death, meditate on death, read about death, console with those who have lost loved ones.  I sometimes wonder if I’ve become jaded or will become jaded. Will I forget the real human impact death has? i know death is an illusion. i know death, for the person experiencing it, is a transition much like birth.  Better than birth. It’s waking up from a dream. It’s graduation. It’s moving on.  I look forward to death.  I met Geo’s wife once, many years ago- 16 or 17 I suppose.  I did not know her well. I’m happy for Bonnie. But, then my thoughts turn to Geo and it’s like a punch to the gut.  Admittedly, I am somewhat relieved I do still feel the very real pain that death causes to those of us left behind.  I’m not jaded yet.  I can still empathize with the “living” left to pick up the pieces after our loved ones Rise Up.

“…passed away unexpectedly”. We add that word unexpectedly for emphasis.  Death is bad enough, but unexpected death. That’s really bad. Why should death be unexpected though?  Death is the one thing that is guaranteed to every one who is born. The circumstances are not known. The timing is not known,  But, death should always be expected.  As much as we try to remain cognizant of the fragility of life, of the precariousness, we are often caught off guard. We get caught up in the flow and we forget; until we are reminded.  I can feel Geo’s pain.  I know of his love for Bonnie and their commitment to each other. I know how much having her present in his life means.  I am heartbroken for him.

I met Geo I guess it was around 2001.  I was just coming out of fundamentalist Christianity and discovering the inescapable love of God (as Thomas Talbott put it).  I think I met Geo on AOL. I’m not even sure. Geo, Steve, Cliff and I started corresponding and they invited me to a small conference in Podunk, Indiana (I don’t even remember the city) where we talked about “universalism”, a new term for me.  In spite of the fact that Geo is a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, we remained friends and somehow found each other when Facebook came into existence.

I don’t know what happened to cause Bonnie’s transition.  Like everyone else, I guess I am curious.  She was born in 1959, just two years before me. I know she was just two years older than I am.  I can feel the gaping hole this will leave in Geo’s life. So, I cry for Geo.  We connect on Messenger. The family is arriving. Geo will be surrounded by friends and family. I let him know I will be here for him when the people go away in a few weeks, as they will do; when people go back to their “normal” and Geo is left to process the days without Bonnie’s physical presence.  But, Geo and I are both grateful for the knowledge we’ve learned together over the years.  He tells me that he could not have survived this had he remained “Christian”.  On this we agree.  The knowledge makes the unbearable at least bearable.

I give Geo my phone number. I tell him to save it for the upcoming weeks after everyone is gone.   I head out fo my seven miles. I walk in silence for half an hour thinking of Geo, praying for Geo.  Thinking of Bonnie, now Risen. The song Rise Up comes to mind.  I don’t own the song.  I don’t even know who sings it. I just keep hearing that one line.  But I want to hear it so I go to iTunes and buy it.  The lyrics, in part, are:

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousands times again
For you
For you
For you
For you

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