"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin, 1789.
First, thanks to all who left notes of sympathy regarding the loss of my co-worker and friend, Devin. It was greatly appreciated.
Devin's wake was held yesterday, and as was expected, the outpouring of grief was overwhelming. This was not surprising of course, given his age, his large family, and his large circle of friends. There were many people from work that came around the same time I did, later in the afternoon around 4 pm. The emotional toll for many was too much to bear.
If you have lived long enough, eventually you experience the loss of friends in your age group. My own experience has led me to believe that this can be even more overwhelming than the loss of a relative, with exceptions of course. The loss of my father was a truly horrific experience. The loss of several friends that I have known was, in its own way, just as devastating. For many of the young people at the wake, this was their first time experiencing death in this way. It is a right of passage in the course of being a human being.
I was there with a friend, Sarah, and she was upset for another reason. We had been there about an hour, when she turned to me and said, "I don't know why I'm not crying?" I just smiled at her, and told her that everyone deals with death in their own way. Grief is something that manifests itself differently from person-to-person, and she should not feel guilty about it. When the time comes for her to let out her emotions, she'll know when it is right.
Sarah is 25, and this is the first time she has dealt with the death of a friend. I think confusion is a big part of the grieving process, and this is something that she will need to sort out as well.
What came as a real shock was finding out that Devin's parents were on a much anticipated trip to China when this all happened. Devin's sister had the task of tracking them down, and then they had to endure a 20 hour flight back, not knowing much of anything. They didn't get to see him until yesterday, shortly before the wake began. Devin's sister is very nice, and is holding up well, given the circumstances. When this all hits her, I hope that she has someone to lean on, as I suspect she will go to pieces. Apparently, her and Devin were very close.
Taxes can be deferred, reduced, or avoided altogether. As life teaches us, death is never avoided. This is a hard lesson, but one that the young people at the wake are just beginning to realize. The Buddhist First Noble Truth is: "All life is sorrow." It would not be life otherwise. In order to be life, pain, death, loss are all part of the experience. Accepting this however, is the hardest lesson to learn.
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