When I saw Brian for the first time in almost 12 years, we defied time.  Completely kicked it to the curb.  If you’d ever wondered whether someone is a real friend; spend some time away from them and see what it’s like when you reunite.  When seeing them again doesn’t miss a beat, you know you’re in good company.

Yesterday, we drove up to Central Lake to visit Bill’s grave.  Brian had been away when Bill died and had been unable to attend the funeral or memorial, so the sight of the grave brought with it some shock that this whole nightmare of losing Bill is real.  

For a moment we sat beside the stone studying Bill’s name.  I fought that feeling of expectation that Bill, at any moment, would step out from behind some tree to chide Brian about something, or to welcome his old friend with a monstrous hug, but only a gentle wind stirred the wind-chimes hanging beside the grave.  

And then began, as so often does in our natural design to reconstruct our loved ones through story, a conversation that unfolded bringing to life the wonderful moments we had shared with our friend.  The regrets healed over by laughter; our hurt eased in recalling Bill’s ability to love with a capacity greater than anything we had ever known.  

And we slowly realized in the course of our time at the gravesite, that the pain we feel isn’t there to drag us under; it’s there to spur us to experience our lives, to learn from Bill; to love in our greatest capacity; to be spontaneous in our endeavors; to recall the past, but not to let our past consume us, instead forwarding those memories and creating memories anew.  

In that sense, Bill was there with us, beside us in time, alive and well in our every molecule of recollection, in our every motion forward.