Thursday, August 23, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Childhood Friend

Today death appeared in my inbox. I was at work when I received an e-mail from an old mission companion notifying me that a mutual friend of ours had been murdered. It was a weird sensation to realize that the news story I kept hearing about on the radio about a body found in an LDS parking lot now had a name and a face put to it, and it was a childhood friend who was like my little brother growing up. 

As I sat there processing the information, I remembered having had the thought in the last week or two that death isn't something that really gets to me like a lot of people, that I can accept it for what it is, and while obviously saddened for the loss of loved ones, it's not a terrible thing. But THIS, this did get to me. I felt my heart grow heavy immediately, and I realized that this IS a terrible thing! 

I think that too often I allow myself to think that I'm more in control of myself and my emotions and my environment than I really am, and I think that I am able to do this because very rarely do I come up against circumstances where this mental illusion is challenged. It's easy to feel removed and unattached when reality is not right there, standing in your path demanding honesty.  The truth is that I'm NOT in control. I'm not in control of my environment and all the forces that are involved in it. Sure I can safeguard myself, and sure I can make decisions that shape my future and events in my life, but things can change in an instant as Mike found out last night as he had has life taken from him, and hearts can be devastated as his friends and family found out this morning upon the delivery of the heart-breaking news.  I'm not in control of my feelings either. Sure it's one thing when a grandparent passes away who has lived a full life and you have time to deal with and cope with inevitable. I don't necessarily feel the need to be heartbroken in circumstances such as these. BUT situations like these are hard to accept with a glad heart because I know that last night the world was cheated yet again. 

I haven't spoken to Mikey in years, and I haven't been close with him since we were kids, but I know who Mikey was when we were kids, and from reading people's comments on Facebook, it's apparent that he stayed his kind, fun-loving self up until his last breath. The world is ALWAYs cheated to have a person like Mike taken from it, and it truly is an event to be mourned, and an experience that no family or friend should have to cope with...and yet so many do have to find their way through these tragically dark times in which there must often appear to be no light at the other end. Knowing that Mike's family was cheated of many more years of memories and experiences with them just makes me want to cry out for them as I imagine the heartache and grief that they must be going through right now.   Time will move on and eventually the hurting and the pain of Mike's loved ones will subside and eventually heal if they turn to the Lord and seek his comfort, but I have no doubt that Mike will always be remembered by those whose lives he touched as he brought cheerfulness to those around him.

Michael Workman 

(10-28-86 to 08-23-12)