Eternal rest grant unto thee...
We learned that a dear friend of ours recently passed away. Many miles and several years have separated our families, but the second I heard the news, I was whisked back in time.
Almost twenty years I knew this friend and his family. I thought about the stories we shared and of the laughter those stories evoked. Always quick with a witty response, there were never any dull moments when we got together. I always cherished the time I spent with that family, and I'll truly cherish those moments now knowing that the next time we visit will be very different.
As much as I would like to be there to support the family, we won't be able to attend the funeral. That's happening today at noon. Between now and then, and throughout the afternoon, I'll be praying. Praying for my friend's wife and for his daughter. Praying for his extended family. Praying for those who he loved and for those friends who loved him back for there were many.
This friend's death is the third unexpected death I've learned of in recent months. Each death has become harder to handle. I'm at a loss for words. My tears won't stop. My heart aches and aches and aches. I don't know how to pray. I don't even know if I can pray. I try to, but I find myself recycling one prayer over and over again in the hopes that some of what I'm trying to say is coherent.
Today, as I think about another friend gone too soon, I'm going to keep this holy card close by. I found it two weeks ago when we lost another dear family friend unexpectedly. I may have this prayer on repeat in my head most of today, but that's because in my heart I'm still at a loss, still in disbelief, and still so very, very sad. I hope that my prayer will strengthen and be sound again when the mourning period is over. But with how much friends mean to me, that may not happen for a long time.
For all of the friends I've lost, and especially for their families and loved ones, as hard as it is to try to muster the right words, I will pray.