Love and Death

Title shamelessly stolen from Woody Allen…. My friend Chris — Papa Christo — my best male friend even in life.

(Title shamelessly stolen from Woody Allen.)

There is no outpouring of love, ever in life, like that when we die.

My friend Chris — Papa Christo — my best male friend even in life. His sister died this week, by her own hand, after a long and terrible depression.

I never knew his sister Holly. I’m not sure why. I met her a time or two, but for some reason, our paths never really crossed like they did with the rest of his family. Now, it’s too late, and tonight now do I learn what a sad thing that is.

I went to her funeral tonight — well, I don’t know if funeral is the right word. She was a deeply religious woman, a catholic, and it was some complex and arcane (to me) catholic thing including a bazillion hail marys, which of course make me want to climb the walls and swing from the rafters naked like a chimpanzee.

But it was the readings after that brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve never seen Chris cry before. I’ve never said “I love you” to him, not heard him say it to me. Yet tonight, before things even started, he was weeping on my shoulder and we were whispering I love you as passionately as lovers.

Tears came to my eyes so easily over his loss. More easily than ever they came over my own loss of a sibling.

So many people stood up to talk about Holly; so much love. God, this woman will be missed. And the pain over the manner of her death spoke deep into my soul, the feeling that she’s been lost long before she died. I know that feeling I said to myself.

Why can’t we tell those we love how we feel when they’re here? Why can’t they hear it, feel it, when love is shared?

I don’t want to wait for my loved ones to die, to tell them how I love them. I doubt I ever said it to my father, I know I never said it to my brother. I don’t even recall when last I told my mother I love her.

Love is so easily shared for the lost. It’s so easy to speak well of those who are gone, to discuss the joy and light and happiness they bring. Yet when they live, the annoyances great and small plague us, loom large, larger than they should.

Does loss change that focus? Or are we simply more comfortable pouring out love to those who are beyond hearing?

I love you. Let us not be afraid to say it. I love you — friends, family, parents, children. Tell your loved ones how you feel while you have a chance. Sometimes they’re taken away before it’s time, sometimes we just forget to say it, forget we feel it. Say it when you can.