The babysitter is secured and the plans are coming together to celebrate a friend’s birthday tonight. We’ll gather at one of his favorite restaurants and retell our memories. We will recount the small things that once seemed inconsequential. But in the absence of his physical body with us, they have become everything.
When I let my mind wander, I can get lost in the memories. The moments we shared. The adventures. His dreams. His smile. The times he was fully alive.
For a moment, I am with him. All that has been lost returns. All that is fractured is made whole.
I imagine what it would be like if he could join us at dinner. I imagine what it would have been if he had survived. His baby brother and sister would be his friends. His nephew and niece would be his delight. His parents would have remained his faithful home-base.
The rabbit-hole of imagination is so bittersweet for it brings such joy and sorrow all at the same time. It makes his death seven years ago still bite as I think of it today. The sirens blaring. Time standing still.
Tonight, when we gather, we will re-member his life and our life with him. We will break the bread and drink the wine. We will pause and give thanks. We will proclaim that this existence is deeper and wider than what is in front of us. That time is more complex than the years counted. That love is stronger than the lines of life and death. That joy can triumph our sorrow. That his presence remains in us and he is alive. In doing so, may we find our peace in the hope that for him and for us, even now, God is not done. Love remains.