Everyone You Love Will Die
I hope (and believe) that everyone you love will also be resurrected, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about how we don’t generally know the day or hour that our loved ones will die, or the order. (And in my experience, it’s never quite who I think it will be.) It’s a tiny bit about Valentines Day, and it’s about a book.
More than four people that were at my wedding four years ago, couldn’t be present, if it happened today. Of the people who have passed, it wasn’t my 97 year old grandmother, who is alive and well, or another family member whose health I know to be poor. It was my younger granny, my mother-in-law, from a cancer we didn’t yet know she had, my sister-in-law’s mother, who passed from the same cancer, my friend George, who is just younger than me, and most recently, the wife of our sealer, who lived next door to my husband during his formative years, and whose husband inspired my own to be an architect.
I still remember going to George’s Facebook page the day (and days) following the sad news, and seeing it fill with the brightest, loveliest pictures and the brightest, loveliest words. I could believe the sincerity and truth in all of them, because he was just that kind of a person–warm, jovial, and loving. He also saved me once, on a morning when I needed saving, and was immensely afraid and far from home. It was easy to imagine that he might have saved many others, too. I wished that I told him how much he meant to me, and how grateful I was for his friendship, but because I didn’t do that, I told his sister instead. I also wish that he could have read all of the soft, glowing words about him, when he was still alive to read them, but that didn’t happen either.
This is the part that is a tiny bit about Valentine’s Day, because I am still thinking about it, and because it makes me want to be brave and vulnerable, to tell people what they mean to me now–to send love letter after love letter. It would admittedly be a bit too awkward to begin, “These are the words I would write (or think, or feel) after you died,” but I would be mindful of them.
I would also be mindful of a very sweet and very funny children’s book I know, called Everyone You Love Will Die. It was written by an internet friend, Daniel Crosby, and illustrated by a real life friend (a dear one), Naomi Win. Many of the rhyming words and charming pictures imagine how loved ones might pass. For instance, “And Uncle Gus? Hit by a bus. It happens to the best of us. Your third grade teacher, Mrs. Crocket, may stick her finger in a socket.” But there are more words, and a bigger, more beautiful point.
That point is to live life differently now. (We might even say, to recognize that eternal life, is now.) It is to enjoy spending time with the people we love, and to be grateful for the moments we have with them, now. It is to let this knowledge change us.
That everyone we love will die, doesn’t have to be only sad. There can be kindness and presence in it, and maybe even joy. “We have each other and you have us and love will always be enough. Yes, everyone you love will die but you’re here today and so am I.”