I went in to our local PRC recently to do some volunteering and one of the other volunteers said, " I saw a picture of your brother today." My mother, who also volunteers there, had been telling some of them about Andrew and showed them his picture. "He was so handsome," she said. "Yes," I said." He is." She noticed my use of the present tense, and seemed to be only slightly weirded out; but she is a Christian, and replied in a way that made me know she sort of understood. But I didn't really take the time to explain the whole reason behind why I said 'is' instead of 'was.'
I consciously chose to use the present tense. I know that it's kind of nit-picky, but sometimes it bothers me a little when people use the past tense in that context. It's one thing when people say, " He liked this" or "Remember when he did that" or "He had a funny way of doing this..." because the past is the past. But there's just this little tiny part of me that rises up to correct people when the past tense is used in a sentence like, " He was my friend..." which limits him to just the past. ( Not that anyone has said that to me, but I'm just giving a hypothetical example.) I know what they mean, but it's important to remember that Andrew still is. He may have finished earthly life two years ago, but he still exists. And somehow that is a deep comfort to me. It is a crystal clear reality that I am going to see him and be with him again sometime in the future. If we saw him before and we know we will see him again, then he must be somewhere now - he's just gone away for now. It's a good thing it's not a permanent absence because it would just be wrong for the world to be deprived of such a wonderful person.
I was thinking recently about how for me ( and many of us), October is a scar on the year; time and grieving does have a way of bringing relief and healing but this time of year will always be difficult, or at least sad to some degree. I was also thinking about how, sooner or later, everyone has these little windows of darkness in their calendars; everyone has a scar or two - or more- in their year. Perhaps some scars are older, further along in their healing than others. I'm not trying to seem morbid, but that's just fairly obvious. Death is inevitable- so far- and pretty much every death brings sadness to someone. It can be a tad depressing until one remembers that at some point in the future, hopefully not too distant from now, time will cease to exist as we know it. October and all the other months of the year will become obsolete. There will be no sad anniversaries. No more dread. Ways of reckoning time will be irrelevant. There will be no separations to mark because there will be no separations. And all tears will be wiped away. No more scars on anyone's calendar.