Grief and Unexpected Loss

Today is the day scheduled for our weekly Help article, ironically enough, I could use someone to talk to that has lost a friend unexpectedly. I just learned about the death of a childhood friend, and don’t have it in me to craft a witty or interesting piece. I am just profoundly sad. Though it has been many years since I last talked to her, the memories of hanging out watching her brother’s one-eyed fish, playing strip poker, and singing TLC together at the top of our lungs are still vivid. The facts of her death I can only piece together from the Facebook posts of her partner and friends. It appears that she overdosed and was found dead by her partner and his daughter. As I write this, though, those facts sound so cold and hard to me.

She was a real, flesh and blood, amazing human being.

We all have labels — both those given to us by others and those we give ourselves — yet we are far more than any label could capture. Personally, I hate labels, they close our minds to the infinite complexity and multi-factedness of being human. In a world where oversimplification so often leads to judgement and prejudice, I want no part of that label war.

There are a million stories I could tell about Jamie’s life, but I’m not going to do any of that. No one's life can be summarized or sermonized on without profoundly simplifying the person that they actually were. My memory of her, too, is incomplete and could never truly capture her. (So why write this article at all, you may ask.) Good question. I think to try to recon with my own grief and the reminder of how fragile we all are.

I won’t try to truncate my dear friend’s life into a soundbite, but I will ask that you don’t wait to do the things you’ve always dreamed; that you say “I love you” more; that you notice the beauty that is both inside you and in everyone you meet. You may have to look harder in some instances than others, but it’s there. I’ll be doing the same.

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