I plant roots so deeply in the people I love that I always lose a piece of myself when they go.

Do you have a favorite aphorism on loss, too? Or do you choose to collect fragments from different stories and piece them together to create a source of relief when you feel particularly alone and confused?

I have a collection of bits and pieces myself, all of which come in especially handy today.

I lost a friend five years ago, and I lost another today. I still echo the same sentiments and questions I voiced out the first time it happened. What is it like, coming to terms with the fact that you’ve really and truly reached the end of your life? Does God allow you to ask questions? What did you tell Him the minute you came face to face with Him? Was your heart filled with sadness or was it bursting with joy? Did you smile when you drew your final breath? Could I have made it all better, had I been more diligent in physically being there and sending you daily reminders of how much I cared?

I hope it is beautiful where you are. I hope your heart is filled with peace, and that peace rains on those of us who want to heal from all the losses we’ve accumulated.

When you lose people and your heart breaks, you feel like there’s no point in trying again or keeping an open mind about, well, everything. We get so caught up in our own anguish that we forget how short life really is. I think you should just love and love despite the scars and bruises. Just love and forgive and fill your life with stories worth retelling. We owe it to the ones who have gone ahead of us, the ones who have faced what the rest of us can only wonder about while we’re still here. We owe it to ourselves.