Death leaves an invisible silence, a wrenching disappearance of love’s voice and presence.
Are loved ones gone forever when they die?
They live a new, unselfish life within the murky, star-forming nebula of our memories. We conjure them in moments of anxiety, sing along with them in the music they loved, and see how they once adored us as we tuck our children into bed. And beyond our perceptions, they exist as nothing and everything.
And if we don’t keep a keen eye on the outside world, we may miss them there as well. On a birthday I looked down and saw this dirty little puddle. I paused, noting that it was heart-shaped. And as great art can move mountains within us, so too can dirty puddles speak for the dead:
I love you.
In the moment my father died there was a beautiful, September-like sky, crisp and blue like the month he entered the world. He shone in the sunlit footprints of his granddaughter as she ran down the sandy beach, brimming with her young life, a torch of his own.
My father jammed the electromagnetic waves of the police trying to call my cell phone to tell me of his demise. Four times I answered the phone to static, which has neither happened before nor since. Stay in this brilliant moment a little while longer, son. I’m with you and your family over this warm beach blanket as I join the sky, reveling in your daughter’s giggles. Remember nothing in the universe has produced a greater sound.
We are of the world when we are born into it, why should we not remain of it when we die?
Look for your loved ones, hear them, sense them, and hold on in inexplicable ways.