Early Saturday morning, my friend of 23 years died. He was 41 years old. I received the call Saturday and I cried all the way home from the training I was co-facilitating. Note: co-facilitators come in handy when your friends die.
Out of the past four days, I've cried about three hours give or take. I didn't cry when I saw his family. I didn't cry at the funeral home. I didn't cry at the funeral itself. I didn't even cry the two nights I spent alone in his house taking care of his beloved pets. I didn't cry when I was packing up some of his pet supplies to send them down to his mother's house. I didn't cry when his mother realized we bought dog food instead of flowers.
23 years would seem to warrant a few more tears. Instead, I'm hoping his mother might let me adopt one of his dogs with whom I fell in love this weekend. I'm also hoping I'm not going to have a breakdown and burst into tears this week in the midst of a meeting or teaching or an interview.
This is a grief I've never known. I have lost older relatives and acquaintances of my age. I've been filled with anger over needless, senseless death and murder. But I've never lost someone with whom I have shared so many years, so many important pieces of my life. As I sat in his livingroom trying to comfort his poor confused animals, a tape of 23 years kept playing in my mind. I can't imagine walking through this world without this dear, talented, and amazing man.
And I'm still not crying.