I am thinking a lot about the language of condolence. How we say, when someone dies, “I am so sorry for your loss.” Now that my dad’s physical presence has left, I do feel a loss. However, there is more at work here than mere loss.
In fact, I have been finding things as much as losing them. In his numerous boxes that are crowding up my tiny house at the moment, I have uncovered photos of him, drawings he made on stray paper, important business documents, old letters. In addition, I have received stories from various friends and associates detailing how they felt about him, memories they have of him, inspiration they attribute to him. Each day, I find unexpected witness to his greatness.
The Tibetans have a ritual, so I am told. For seven weeks after someone dies, they conduct a remembrance on the day of the week on which the person passed. Everything done that day is done “for” the deceased. It is a good day to help someone out in a special way or give to a charity. Georg died on a Thursday. Last Thursday, I woke up and immediately started doing even the most mundane things in his name:
I felt very comforted doing this. Once again, today is Thursday. It is the third Thursday since he died.
Dad, I am writing this blog for you.
I am thinking about the loss of you,
I am thinking about how in your absence, I find you, for you.
When someone dies, we say, “I am so sorry for your loss.” When someone is born, perhaps we should say, “I am so happy for what you have found.”
Or, maybe we should just be more aware that death is not really about loss. The person is not lost. Georg is here, just in an entirely different way than before. Of that, I am certain.