Earlier this week, my dear friend Dan died. It was an unexpected and tragic event. My heart still hurts thinking about how he won’t be there the next time I travel to the east coast. It hurts even more knowing I cannot make it there to mourn with my friends.
I know death is a door we will all walk through, yet when someone I love leaves, there is still the surprise and shock of it. The loss cuts my heart, and as I realize I will not see Dan again, grief fills my mind. Tears wash away the grief, and I know slowly the cut will begin to heal. In time, a tender spot holding my memories and love of my dear friend will be left. Eventually, this scar will be a gift that marks the precious and fleeting moments we have shared together.
For now I will let the tears fall when they come. I will remember all the joy my friend brought to my life. I’ll remember the first time we met at my sister’s Halloween party, where we both dressed as hippies. To make the costume more of a costume and not just what he normally wore, he painted his toenails. (And so did his friend Bob!) I’ll think of the jokes and stories he animated with such brilliance. I’ll treasure the magical moment we had when he came to visit me and Jim in San Diego. We were walking through Balboa Park when suddenly someone started playing Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” on the giant pipe organ. It wasn’t a concert; there was just a lone organ player in an empty amphitheater, and it felt like he had picked that song just for Dan.
Most of all I’ll be grateful for all the connections with others he made possible. Like a magnet, Dan pulled good people towards him, and created a space for us all to be together. Even though I don’t get to see them often, whenever I do, it always feels as if no time has passed and we pick up right where we left off.
Saying goodbye is never easy…so perhaps to you, Dan, I’ll just say: “See you next time around.”
A Buddhist Prayer for Dan:
Buddha taught that all life is impermanent and that all those who are born must eventually pass from this life. However, everyone has within them the seeds of their past virtues, which have the power to bring a fortunate rebirth in the future.
We pray that through the power of this virtue, through the blessings of the holy beings, and through the force of our heartfelt prayers, our dear friend, Dan, will experience great good fortune and everlasting peace and happiness.
We also pray for the bereaved relatives and friends, that they may be comforted in their loss and find peace of mind and strength of heart.
May all beings without exception be released from suffering, and find true happiness and everlasting peace.
OM MANI PADME HUM