This week, one of my best-lifelong friends was killed in an explosion. After the initial disbelief and anger periods wore off, I became reflective.
When I am disturbed, there is a problem with me. The question is, is grief fear based? Is it self centered thinking? Probably. But like other negative emotions, this one wasn't as easy to strip bare. I simply couldn't label it, place it in a box, and store it. I realized that when you truly love and admire someone, that losing them- losing that availability- seems difficult. Because deep down you know that they were special. That you shared common bonds and thinking and that is very difficult to replace.
In Craig's case, we shared the struggle. Personal courage. The willingness to engage in something we believed in and suffer the consequences. That happened to us.
We didn't just share the trauma of gawd knows how many tragedies in the field. We shared a personal and emotional experience. We might have made a big mistake. In the annals of my life, that period of time we shared cost us our jobs. It took an emotional toll on us. The backlash was more severe than we would have imagined. But we took our beatings like men. In fact, neither of us ever whined about the incident or blamed each other. It simply wasn't useful.
So we never talked about that incident much. What it did do- was reshape our lives. That struggle created our bonds and cemented our loyalty to each other. It elevated our friendship beyond that of mere acquaintances and permanently bound us. That's why, even after 20 years or so, of a hit and miss friendship- I felt certain that at any future time we would simply pick up where we left off. That's how easy it was. We didn't apologize for lost time.
I realized that grieving a loss such as Craig's is necessary. That is the relativity of life. That if you are going to love somebody then you are potentially going to suffer the consequences of losing them and vice versa. Would you rather love and potentially grieve...or not love at all?
My emotional awareness and my ability to process all of this- mostly alone this week was a magnificent thing. I am fortunate that I did not have any distractions nor did I find it necessary to alter my consciousness with a bottle of booze or a few pills. I spent Wednesday through Saturday isolated. Not in a bad sense. I spent it processing my thoughts and examining my feelings- I did not have to spew it out to everyone that would listen.
I am grateful for this experience. Not that I would wish for such a terrible thing for anyone or anybody...but for recognizing that it is just life. It's nobody's fault. There is nobody to blame. That all of those good times were more significant than this terrible time. It is certainly better in my mind- to have loved and lost- than to never have loved at all.