You went to heaven yesterday. It was the first day of summer, of all days. You died on the summer solstice.
This world already feels weird without you. Like someone adjusted the picture on the TV screen of existence and screwed up the reception. The colors are off. The sky is a strange shade of blue. The songs of the birds sound mechanical and fake. Nothing feels right.
You made us all love you. I don’t know how you did that. But you did. You had that unique human talent of amiability. People were drawn to you like fruit flies.
I was one such fruit fly.
I was aimless when we first met. A lost kid. Confused about who he was. You were older than me. You were an artist. You loved your life. I wanted to love my life the way you did. I wanted to find joy the way you did.
So you helped me. You and your husband took me in like a stray mutt. You fed me from your table. You told me I was somebody. You gave me free haircuts.
My wife woke me up this morning to tell me the news of your departure. I couldn’t cry. In fact, I couldn’t feel. I am still pretty numb. And a little sick. It’s like when you touch a stove. That nanosecond before the pain sets in, your whole body is still trying to figure out what just happened. That’s how I feel.
I have had all the normal thoughts that accompany death and dying. I keep thinking: “Life isn’t fair.” “Life is too short.” “Why is life so cruel?”
Sometimes I have thoughts about how maybe it’s God who is cruel, and not life. After all, how could a loving universal creator snuff out the life of an angel while he allows a dictator to die of old age? How, I ask you.
But then I walked outside this morning and saw how foolish this idea was, blaming God.
This morning it was a blistering 90-odd degrees outside. Steam was rising from the wet earth like a cloud fighting its way toward heaven. The crickets were screaming blue murder.
The air itself seemed to wobble and bend with the heat. A distant lawn mower was running. Someone’s yard sprinkler was going. The trees were waving in the faint gusts. It was beautiful.
And I realized that you died on the first day of summer.
That can’t be a coincidence. Astronomically speaking, the first day of summer is when the Sun reaches its highest point. The first day of summer is the longest day of the year. Meaning, the earth is closer to the Sun than it will ever be again.
This is no small event in nature. The world itself changes on the first day of summer. Everything changes. Physics change. The laws of gravity change. The weather changes. Nature can feel summer happening within itself, and the planet responds in kind.
Within the Arctic Circle, there are multiple days of uninterrupted daylight. Glaciers thaw. The seas churn. Cattle lie down. Flowers multiply. The birds go crazy. Tropical forests become the world’s largest singles’ bars.
Winter is officially over. In winter the whole world dies. Then comes the struggle of spring, which is a fistfight against Mother Nature.
But then comes summer.
Rebirth. The end of the long, troublesome war with resurrection. Summer is the beginning of forever.
You were taken from us on the most beautiful summer day of the year. The sun was at 23.5 degrees latitude North, directly over the Tropic of Cancer. The earth was at its maximum axial tilt of 23.44 degrees.
It was as though the universe were aligning itself to make room for your soul as it fluttered toward God.
Which is where you are now. Where you live, it is perpetually summer. Your face is gazing at the same sun I am looking at now. Only you have a considerably better view of it.
Because you are no longer encumbered by our world, or our agony, or our hardships. Neither by our culture of self-seekers and egoists, nor by our disappointments, nor our unkindness.
You have been reborn. You live in a new realm. You are no longer fighting. You are the essence of summer now.
And some glad morning, when this life is over, so it shall be with us all.