We were back from the boat after three full days out when I received a call from an Al-Anon member telling me that the son of a couple who attends one of the meetings I attend had died of an overdose. The memorial service was to be held in a few hours on the beach near a neighboring island.
As I drove to the service, I thought about the many sharings the couple had made about their son. They were struggling to not let their anxiety about him ruin their lives. They loved him so much but didn't know what to do to help him. Others shared about how detaching with love had helped them with loved ones who were addicts or alcoholics. How they had learned to not toss and turn with worry but realize that their loved ones also had a Higher Power. Some how those words seemed hollow to me when thinking about the loss of their 33 year old son. Would I think that there was nothing I could do after such a loss? Or would I be thinking that perhaps there would be one more thing I could try? Somehow it all sounds right when the person is alive but once they are dead from the disease, what then?
All of that changed though when I heard the couple and their remaining child, a beautiful young woman, share their memories of their son. They all said what a big heart he had, and how much he cared about others, and what an important part music had in his life. He was funny, intelligent, articulate, talented, and loved life and his family. The parents talked about their son with so much love and with calmness and peace. They said that they hoped that he had found his own peace now. Their words indicated to me an inner peace and acceptance and even joy as they shared stories about him. His sister regretted he would not be there to share her life, or joke with her. She said that she didn't want to give the impression that he was being exalted too much because he could be a jerk as a big brother at times. There was laughter and tears and so much love.
I listened to their words and those of others expressing how loving and good this young man was. How utterly normal he sounded with his love for music, family, friends, pizza, goofy movies, and singing. I watched the pelicans flying over, heard the waves on the beach, and saw the sun shining on the water. And I thought that maybe some people are just too good for this world--too sensitive, too caring. Maybe his heart was big and his love was big, but somehow he didn't really feel a lot of love for himself. I don't know. But he sure sounded like a person I would have liked.