When I was a child, Christmas Eve was five hundred years of sleepless seconds. Anticipating Christmas was bigger and more incredible than Christmas day ever could be. Because the day inevitably comes to a close and then its over. Just like that.
I could never have been able to survive the evening before BJay died if I knew what was going to happen. And I think about this so often. Death happens all the time. All around us people fight for their lives in a hundred different ways. Sometimes we know it is coming. Sometimes we know it is near. Sometimes it is quick and completely unexpected. No one is ever really prepared. But I don't know that I could have survived anticipating the tremendous crushing ocean of sorrow that is losing someone you love. It feels merciful to me, that if it had to come at all, death came so completely unexpectedly.
I plead with you tonight as I remember so vividly the last night I spent with BJay in this world: Please don't take your love for granted. Please don't treat your relationships lightly. Loving is the greatest thing we get to do. Love is what binds us forever. Love is what makes all this pain and sorrow worth bearing. Love breaks us open to everything that hurts. And love is what heals us and binds us up again.
I am reminded once again as I've come to this night. Five years ago we left the children with my family and went out. We didn't go dancing. We didn't have a fancy meal. We didn't do anything bold or impetuous. But we did take the time to recognize each other. The world was shifting under our feet. I have no idea what I would have said or done if I had known it was the last time we would ever go out together. But I do know for certain that nothing was left unsaid. I went to sleep peaceful and filled up with happiness, contentment, and deep abiding love.
We woke up and cooked breakfast together. And within two hours he died. On a Monday morning, mid September.
On this eve before the day that marks the worst day I ever lived I am glad to be where I am now. I am glad to know what I know. Along the way I have seen this same nightmare unfold around people I know and those don't know and it inspires me to no end that people keep on living and creating beauty and being wonderful and cheerful and funny. Under the weight of so much pain and struggle we can all keep going. And we do. And we will.
Today, remember to love the ones you love well… if you would. For BJay.