It all began two weeks ago; I received a call from my mother that my best friend, John had been hit by a car and died instantly. At first it didn't really sink in, I acknowledged my mothers' phone call and said thanks for letting me know. In time it really began to sink in, I was deeply troubled by this news and felt a great emptiness building in me.
Not to long after that my mind began recalling all the things we had done together and images flooded my mind. The following day I found it more and more difficult to function, I just felt down, distracted by my grief of losing a friend I hardly saw or spoke to in years. I found the whole experience puzzling but being one who prides himself on figuring out problems and solving them, I poured my thoughts into why this disturbed me so. I emailed my boss as to what had happened and told him I was not sure what I would be doing that week. Monday I went to work figuring to tie up any loose ends in case I needed to take off for the Funeral. I found it extremely difficult to function at all; I was distracted by my grief and felt very distant from everyone. I never really felt depressed just grief stricken and distant. I was actually trying to determine how long I thought it would take me to get back to normal, I figured about a month. I decided that day that I needed to take a few days off to sort things out.
Tuesday was spent at home, half staring off into space and finally I decided to make some food to take to my friend's house. I felt better doing this, especially since my daughter was helping. Still after that task was completed, I was back to feeling empty and out of sorts.
Wednesday I went to my friend's house and was helping his older brother clean up my friend's room. It was very therapeutic going through my friend's things, I felt connected again for a little bit. I was also talking to his mother, bringing up childhood memories more to cheer myself up but it seemed to help her more than me. Next thing I know, she's asking me to give the eulogy at my friend's funeral. Not something I would look forward to but how could I refuse?
That night all the childhood memories and images flooded my mind and before I knew it I had written a five page eulogy with stories of our time together and how it portrayed John's greatest qualities. The only thing I didn't know much about was his time spent with his former wife and children; I figured I could get details from his wife at the viewing sessions the next day.
Thursday arrives, I'm at the viewing and I have a strong feeling I'm supposed to seek out John's ex wife Joan. I knew I needed details about their time together but felt as if I was supposed to seek her out for something else. I finally see her arrive and decide to greet her. I'm still not sure if that was a good idea or not because as soon as she saw me, she broke into tears and fell into my arms.
I tried to console her as best as I could and was surprised that the more I talked to her about john, the better she seemed to feel. I felt very close to Joan, a person I hardly new. She felt the same telling me that she felt that she and I were closer to John then anyone else and probably new him better. She then told me about all the good times they had together and that he was her one true love in life. Then came the bad times. John became an alcoholic and did not treat Joan very well; he did not beat her but threatened to kill her on many occasions. So many that the Police came to their house and had to take away all his guns. John was an avid hunter and also collected many guns; they were an integral part of his life. This upset John greatly, we all thought that this would cause him to seek help and he could beat his addiction. Try as he might he just could not conquer his alcoholism.
Finally things got so bad his wife had to force him out of their house and limited his visits with his children. Eventually they divorced. I think she was harboring a lot of guilt for what she did. I tried to tell her that she didn't have much choice but still she felt guilty.
Also that evening I found out from the priest that I had no more then two minutes to give the eulogy. Frustrating for sure but I figured I would just conceptualize what I had written and be fine.
The following morning while lying in bed just composing my eulogy it happened. I felt as though something had touched my mind, only briefly but, I immediately new something very special occurred. It was over whelming; words cannot fully describe what it felt like. I knew my friend was involved but he was not the one who touched me. I knew that this brief touch was all I could handle, any more and I would have gone crazy. I was given answers to many things, why John had to die, answers about religion, and that I was going to change.
At the same time, I became overwhelmed with joy! I was smiling and crying at the same time, I immediately woke my wife up and tried to explain what had just happened. To my surprise she believed me I expected her to think I was crazy, I know I wasn't sure. I also new what I would say at my friend's eulogy, and that it would come from my heart. Try as I might, I could not write it down. Every time I tried it came out as a mixed babbling of words on paper, quite often totally illegible. But it kept running in my mind kind of like music, not word for word but more like images. I finally was able to write down a few key words, otherwise I new I would babble incoherently. From that moment on, I could not contain my joy. It felt as if I were glowing. I was convinced that everyone I touched could feel it and that I could make others feel better just by touching them!
I drove with my wife to the Church service so excited, I couldn't wait to get there. This was on one level very strange, I normally dread such things but I was looking forward to it! I couldn't wait to see people, especially Joan, my friends ex wife. I was sure I could give part of my "gift" to her, I even thought it would be ok with me to give it all to her, she needed it more than I did.
When the service started, Joan was sitting all alone. A rift developed between her and John's family over some of the things she did to protect her and her children from John. I immediately told my wife that I felt compelled to go sit with Joan and asked if she would join me. We went over to Joan and immediately she started crying. I told her we were there for her and would help as best we could. This must have seemed confusing for her since I could not stop smiling.
So church service went on and for me it was the most enjoyable church service I had ever experienced. I could see past all my misgivings about church services and the rituals that made no sense to the truth. I also could see what the people attending church, those that have faith were getting from it. I know the choir members were looking at me, I must have seemed unusual to them, and all my smiling not something you typically see at a funeral mass. I was a little concerned because my mother is part of the choir and most the members knew I was her son. Finally the time comes for me to give the eulogy it went something like this:
"Good morning! We are gathered here to morn a friend, brother, cousin, uncle, husband, son, and father. But is that why we are really here? I think not, we are here to celebrate his life and Oh what a life he lived! John was troubled in the latter part of his life and try as all did, we could not help him. Help had to come from somewhere else, somewhere not of this earth and time. John is at peace now, a peace he could no longer experience here. In closing I want to thank John for his final gift to me, the gift of faith."
I know many were confused by what I said but others seemed overjoyed and seemed to know where I was coming from.
At the reception after the service, many commented on what I had said and wondered where it came from. I tried to explain as best as I could. Many understood and related similar experiences of faith and believed what happened to me to be true. This was very comforting to me and I again felt as though they were sharing in the experience and getting something from it or me. Each time I related the experience the joy I felt in me grew, to the point that I felt it was flowing out of me. I think I actually was able to give some of this feeling to John's mother, she held my hands as I told her of my experience and the look on her face was one of understanding and joy. She then told me that she loved me very much and was glad I was her son's friend. It seemed like a weight was lifted from her after that, she seemed at peace with her son's passing.
The overwhelming feeling of joy stayed with me for several days. It was quite distracting at times but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I still experience it from time to time but I'm getting used to it and it's not as distracting, more a part of me.
It's been over a week since my "touch" from God and I still feel the same. I'm getting used to the changes and understand more about what happened. I was harboring a lot of pain, fear, and anger. Pain of a childhood of being picked on, pain of terrible work experiences, pain of the loss of others, pain of not having a loving relationship with my father before he passed, and the fear of becoming an alcoholic or drug abuser.
My father was an alcoholic and I know the tendencies for substance abuse exist in me. I was constantly battling these demons in my mind. I felt as though I was winning and would eventually conquer and vanquish them on my own but now I don't need to. Part of the "touch" was not only a gift but it was a removal of all my pain, fear and anger towards others. It took a while to completely understand this, I knew that I had no fear and also harbored no ill will against anyone but at first did not understand why.
I know now that by God touching my soul, my pain, fears and anger have been removed and I can now become who I was really meant to be. It's up to me to discover exactly who that is and what my part in the world is. I do know this; I will be able to accomplish my tasks a lot easier now. I can interact with people better; I don't feel the need to win in any type of relationship with others. It's now about helping all around me and treating people as best as I can.
I keep asking myself why me? What have I done in life to deserve this? I feel as though others deserve this more. Many others have much tougher lives and life experiences to deal with than I. I don't consider myself a bad person, just average even a little selfish.
Besides I felt as though I could take care of myself and conquer my demons and emotions eventually, I felt as though I was very close to doing that. Why the intervention? I know John was a very giving person, was this perhaps the last gift he could give?
But now I feel as though I'm a more caring person, I see beauty in every aspect of life and every person I meet. I feel an overwhelming desire to help others, even if it's just a smile or thanking them for just the smallest gesture of kindness. If the feeling I'm still experiencing form time to time were to end in an instant, it would not matter the least bit. I'm irrevocably changed. I've tried to bring up rage and anger from my past and it just doesn't seem to be there to grab any more and what little I can grasp just slips away.