How Death Puts An End To A Life, But Eternalizes The Relationships We Have

by Kirsten Corley

I still remember getting that phone call from my coach that Monday morning. 

There has been an accident... Carly didn’t make it.

I immediately sat down, overcome with shock and confusion. How could my teammate not be alive? What happened? How did it happen? What could I have done? Why wasn’t she with us? These were all questions that ran through my brain as I tried to process the information I had just learned.

The days blended together, full of tears, confusion and mourning. It seemed like it was only a month ago that she had been taking pictures with me at my graduation. I kept starring at the picture of us on my phone.

I flew out to Michigan, where she was from and walked into the viewing. There really are no words in the English language you can string together that articulately describe the feeling of seeing your friend in a coffin.

People come into our lives for all sorts of reasons, just as people sometimes inexplicably exit our lives. Sometimes, they leave with goodbyes; other times, they are taken from us for no rhyme or reason. They act as comets in the night sky, lighting up our worlds before disappearing into the darkness.

We are left only with memories of their pasts and the sounds of their voices, which we hope to never forget. We hang on to the voicemails and the videos on our phones and replay them over and over again.

We think back to the last time we saw these people and wish for just one more day, one more conversation. The truth is that no amount of extra time would have been even close to enough.

In the days and weeks that followed Carly’s death, I began to see her everywhere. She was every dream at night. I felt her with me at every moment.

As I pulled up to campus, for the first time since I was there with her, the song, “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan came on. The lyrics made me immediately start to cry.

I knew she was with me. It was all about the little things. When I got out of a relationship that she hated for me, the first person with whom I went on a date reminded me of her. I began to realize that while people are sometimes taken from us, it doesn’t mean they must leave our hearts.

We can take these people with us, day after day, through everything we do. I promise that the world will send you little hints that these people are still with you.

In my grieving time, I’ve learned that people will leave our lives for all sorts of reasons, some of which we will never understand. Death is not something you are supposed to understand; you just have to accept it.

There is no right way for someone to mourn. There is no correct number of tears you are allowed to cry. There is no level of strength you should possess. Death is one of the hardest tragedies any person will have to experience. There is simply nothing anyone can say to make it better.

There are a million justifications that you can throw out into the universe, but plain and simple, death is not fair.

I truly believe that people who are in our hearts are never gone. They come back at unlikely times and for unlikely events to let us know that they are always with us. Someone isn’t just with you when you visit his or her grave; the person remains in your heart, should you choose to bring the person with you.

So, hold on to every picture, hold on to every memory, replay those voicemails and videos and look for them everywhere you go. Break down when you need, no matter how long it takes. Know that with every milestone and event, our loved ones stay with us even if we can't see them.

They are there, watching over us, every single day. We may no longer have a certain friend, sibling, son, daughter, friend or teammate, but these people stay with us forever. They continue to watch over us and stay with us every day, through every milestone we reach without them here on earth.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr