I don’t really celebrate the new year on January 1st. Instead I usually celebrate it on the day after my birthday, literally the start of a new year for me.
That approach took on an extra significance this year as it marked the completion of my 32nd year on this planet.
My cousin Jeff died just shy of his 32nd birthday. Up until recently, he’d always been my older cousin. That changed this year. Jeff will never celebrate his 32nd birthday, and the pain caused by his absence is the constant argument I struggle with every time I think about him — and I think about him a lot.
It’s the constant argument against the notion that everything happens for a reason, and the associated notion that that reason is a good thing. I’ve often ascribed developments to this notion, and taken comfort from it, but there is no comfort to be had in Jeff’s passing or anything that has come from it in the almost 9 years since.
His death is the constant argument against the popular assumption (or at least the assumption I operated under for a long time) that the sense of loss one experiences at the death of a friend or family member lessens with time or distance. If anything, it has gotten worse.
Most of all, Jeff dying so suddenly and so inexplicably and so unfortunately is the constant argument against faith in anything other than the promise of the day at hand, because every day that I wake up is another day that he didn’t have, and someday even I won’t have that.
But today I do. And so do you. No arguments.