It’s been one year since God took him back, but I’ve always dragged out my goodbyes. Truthfully, the loss hasn’t stopped sinking further in, and I’m surprised and strangely impressed at my own body’s capacity to continue loving someone while their absence carves new wounds in my heart with a ghostly blade. I call this knife “Missing You” and name each scar after why I needed him. ‘Heartache’ ‘Insecurity’ ‘Family’ and ‘Just Because’ decorate my insides. And that’s exactly how I would describe the loss of a loved one to someone who hasn’t yet experienced it- internal bleeding.
To anyone on the outside, it seems like a little girl crush that I should just get over. But the reason my love for Albert is so timeless, is because I feel like I’ve been through it all, albeit only on my end, with him. Ranges and categories of love have been condensed and zeroed in on this single human being: Obviously, I’ve idolized and crushed on him as the innocent middle schooler. I’ve resented and been bullied by him like a little sister. I’ve grown to appreciate him as a friend. I’ve respected and looked up to him as an adult. I guess you could say I’ve loved him for a lifetime. And this makes me smile. It makes me proud. It’s the best thing I’ve done to date.
Maybe some people’s effect on you truly is unchangeable. Time, distance, lack of contact, even something as formidable and seemingly definite as death, are but pathetic barriers in the face of a love like this. There is no competition for how I feel, a feeling that could never die.
Someone recently asked me what my past year would have been like if I hadn’t experienced this loss. A lot of big changes in my life have been a culmination of several small changes- and I’m sure others can relate. We only notice evolution in retrospect after collecting small differences along the way. But not in this case. Yes, losing a friend has created shifts in my every day. But no, I haven’t been oblivious to them and it didn’t take a year mark for me to be grateful for all the ways he’s helped. For 365 days, I’ve told him “Thank you,” so loudly in my heart that I know it breaks through the barrier between heaven and earth. I know you can hear me, and I know you’re saying, “You’re welcome… you brat.”
Albert’s time alive was abysmally short. Though ‘short’ is subjective and ‘time’ is an arbitrary concept, in our rational perspective, these are the facts: Our solar system is 13.8 billion years old. The statistical life span of a human averages 66.26 years, a comfortable median between the Mayfly’s 30 minutes and the Arctica Islandica clam’s 405 years. As 0.0000000000015 – 0.00000034% of all time, individual life on earth is a very delicate occasion. But whatever time range our lives break down to, no matter which way I analyzed and dissected life and death, I still couldn’t see Albert’s end as being anything but premature.
But life shouldn’t be measured by years alone, and each day I’m more confident and glad that Albert made damn good use of his. His effect on the world could span centuries and populations, if pictured outside of the construct of ‘time.’ And as much as it hurts, I thank God for being gracious enough to let the earth experience Albert for the time that we did.
The more exposed I am to suffering, and the more familiar I become with pain and sacrifice, the more I’m convicted that our ultimate purpose in life boils down to… each other. That’s it. Everything, every single thing in the universe is connected. Our bodies are made up from the same atoms that form the sun and stars, the moon, asteroids, and comets. We are not inhabitants of the universe. We are the universe. Albert is a part of you, you are a part of me, I am humbly and happily a brush stroke in God’s intricate design. Life is but a brief juncture in which our consciousness occupies a physical state– and it’d be short sighted to think that someone is gone just because they exist in a different realm. This is what Albert taught me, in life and death. While you have a body, take care of it. Take care of each other. Give. Forgive. Learn. Grow. Do as much as you can, while you can, with whatever you have. There is a bigger picture- trust in it. Be empowered by your role in it. In the end, we’re all made of stardust.
There are so many times when I wish I were a better writer, a better dancer, singer, artist, wished that I were more skilled in any area of expressive art in order to appropriately articulate how I feel. The frustration with my lack of talent is amplified any time I come across significant subject matter, a person, an idea, an event, that means a lot to me. I’ll know I’ll never be satisfied with how I communicate my thoughts to the public, especially about Albert.
But I never aspire to write beautifully. I don’t value flowery prose, extravagant phrases, poetry decorated with nuance and metaphors. All I strive be, is a truthful writer. And I’ve found that, when I write truthfully, it turns out beautiful. Because the truth is, that I’ve been blessed with very beautiful people to write about. An artist that takes credit for their work is disregarding the source of inspiration that actually created their art. We are but mediums. Portals. Messengers. Interpreters. Real art is in each other, in the world, in each interaction, big or small. And it’s up to us to discover that, then share it.
Thank you for having been, and continuing to be such a beautiful presence in my life. I will never not love you.