And yet, we live in a culture that seems to require it, especially in our relationship – really a lack of relationship-with the dead. All of us are afraid to let go of the pain we feel about Brad, and we’re right. Without the constant reminder of the pain, Brad will cease to exist.
We love, and miss, and want him in our lives forever, but the bond is already broken. Our shame of forgetting, even for a moment, runs as deep as the hurt when we remember. Once we start to stop thinking about him every moment of every day he starts to fade like a photograph, until one day there is no more Brad, because no one remembers. And so our pain keeps him fresh.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! and other societies seem to have figured it out.
Reincarnation may be real or metaphorical, but it reminds its believers that a soul is always a soul in some form. The body may change, but the person behind it is forever. The earthbound have constant reminders that their lost ones aren’t lost, just with them in a different form.
Or the Mexican Day of the Dead, an annual honoring of all their ancestors in a joyful loving way of candy skulls and favorite foods. It is a beautiful ritual that allows them to let go of the pain, because those lives are continuously honored as surely as Christmas comes.
We have to trust ourselves, and “God’s creation.” Whether god is the interconnectedness of the universe, the oneness of all souls or the literal bearded male of Christianity we must remember that once a soul has come into being, it is infinite.
Trust yourselves not to forget. You won’t. We won’t. There will come a time, whether we choose it or not, when hours, or days, or weeks will pass with no conscious thought of Brad.
But trust yourself. Just because you aren’t aware of him, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. When you first started to drive, you thought about it every second you were in the car. But now, you can drive hundreds of miles and not remember driving. – You didn’t forget how to drive, it just became a part of your being. Do you love your wife, or son, or friend any less when you aren’t thinking about them? Have faith in your unconscious spiritual memory.
It’s the same with Brad, and all the others who have moved on. They are indelibly imprinted on us, and have become infinitely blended and merged just as surely as our beating hearts and love for our friends. It may be a quiet, background music – rather than a screaming pounding rhythm, but that doesn’t make it, him, any less real.
We still have our rituals, and trinkets that bring him to mind, and help us renew the love and learning that came from him. But, don’t be afraid to let go of the pain when the time is right. It’s not the pain that keeps him alive. He’s already forever.
His soul and our love for him and his love for us are what has made him forever, the pain is only one of the roads on our journey.
Keep your pain as long as you need to, but take the guilt and shame away. Trust yourself and Brad’s soul to become what they are destined to be. Trust that life is much bigger, deeper, more important than our conscious thoughts alone.