I’ve gotten a lot done over the past month. The man cave has been cleaned out and turned into a recording room. Boxes of junk have been tossed, boxes of not junk have been donated, and boxes of stuff have been organized. Everything I do has a price tag; time cost, pain cost, cost of living.
The most valuable possession I own is my mind, another space that I’ve also been working to cleanup and keep clean. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to chase away the demons but I don’t know that I would ever want to if I could. One of the most vivid memories I have of the time after Aaron passed away was a conversation that Emily and I had. She mentioned that she wouldn’t listen to any music for the next few weeks to come because she didn’t want any songs to become Aaron songs. It was in that moment that I decided to do the opposite. I wanted Aaron songs, and I still do, just as I want Duke songs and Duke memories. I even mixed a podcast intermission song and called it “Duke’s Song.” Parts of us always move on, whatever the loss, because we have to, but there are also parts of us that we get to choose what to do with.
It feels a bit narcissistic to say this, but one of my biggest fears about dying has to do with how well people will or will not be able to move on. I am probably only able to feel this vainly towards death because I’m not actually dying, at least no more so than I was yesterday. There is nothing more personal than one’s own death. It’s not that I want my own death to permanently freeze the lives of those I love, but I would like for someone to mourn for me in the way I mourn for my losses. I’d like them to allow little pieces of me to live on through them as I have done for others. Some of our Facebook pictures have not changed in 4 years, we have not taken down any of our pictures around the house, we shy not from speaking their names, we acknowledge that they existed and that their hole will never be filled.
I am not the leader of our ragtag band of friends, but I do lead by example for any of those who might be watching. I look to follow those who might be worth watching. Reciprocal relationships are necessary, when possible, and impossible when unnecessary. Keep the fire burning.