I found out last week that a former high school classmate died of a stroke not even two weeks after his 45th birthday. He was away in Texas working on a project and had been in the hospital while he was there, but was released and seemed to be doing well. He was looking forward to coming back to Nashville soon.
He's coming back to Nashville, but not in the way he imagined, and certainly not in the way any of his friends or family hoped.
I didn't know him as well as I would have liked. In school, we had mutual friends, but he was just on my periphery. We reconnected through Facebook, as a lot of schoolmates do, and I enjoyed relating to him as an adult instead of the awkward teenagers we once were. He was kind, and funny, and he loved music. He had a great many friends who thought the world of him, and now they mourn.
His best friend went to Texas to retrieve his ashes and bring him home. I've retrieved ashes before. It's a surreal experience to carry someone's earthly remains out in a tiny box. And even though I am generally practical about death - because, let's face it, why fear the inevitable? - I still have a hard time making the connection between the living person and the parcel of ashes. Logically I know that the ashes were once a living, breathing person, but still my heart somehow wants to doubt it.
I imagine someone, someday, will pick up my ashes and think the same thing.
Goodbye, Grant. I hope you're having a righteous jam with Jimi somewhere.
Till next time --- shine your light and love your people.