In Memory of Rick

We do not speak ill of the dead.

I don't know where this tradition began, but we never say bad things about those who have passed on. There is always someone grieving, and it seems like spitting on their pain. Perhaps that is part of the blessing. Perhaps by enacting a personal moratorium on unresolved anger and forcing ourselves to remember only the good, we move one step closer to accepting our loss, to letting go.

I wrote a story once about two people trapped in a literal whirlpool of grief. Having reached the stage of the most pain, the most anguish, they can choose to move on... or to sink back into the whirlpool. All that it takes to move on is to let go, to accept and forgive.

It's easy to forget, sometimes, that every man and woman who walked the earth was once someone's child. Once someone held him, sang him to sleep at night. As someone said, we try to remember the good, happy fellow we knew, and try to forget what went wrong. It is the blessing that comes with letting go. Otherwise we sink into the whirlpool.

It would have been better if the farewells could have been said. Forgiveness sought, bridges mended. Someone in a movie once said that all we take with us into the next life is what we carry with us to our deaths. If we carry only anger, that is all we get to keep. I don't know if I believe that.

But I do know that there are many people mourning you. All of us, remembering the good, remembering laughter and smiles and trying not to think that bridges could have been mended. Forgiveness achieved. Blood is thicker than tears. It didn't have to be this way.

So we will raise a glass to you, and hope that there is, indeed, a next life. That in that place of perfect understanding and absolute forgiveness, we may all meet again, and say all that was left unsaid.

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