I remember the morning my aunt passed away. I was at my grandmother’s and the phone rang incredibly early. This wasn’t unusual because people call my grandma all the time, but this felt different. Its like, when its a call you need to take you know it in your bones.
My freshman year of college. Downstairs in the basement of the blue house. Ned called me and I knew it wasn’t good news. He told me Jewels’ dad had passed. That’s all I remember. I am guessing I must have asked my mom what to do, because I took food over to their house.
I sat with the whole family. I remember lots of family, so it must have been a day or two after. I remember standing with Holls and Jay and trying to find hotels for people.
Then I remember the funeral. I remember Ned standing with Jewels and Brian with Alicia (I think). The only thing I remember about the funeral was the song Imagine was played. I spent the rest of the time trying to wrap my head around what loss meant. It meant the man who would sit at the computer desk while Jewels and I talked on the couch would no longer be there. It meant that this entire family would forever be missing a part. It meant that one of my very best friends was hurting in a way that no one could bring relief to.
I remember sitting with Denise. She cried throughout Mrs. Murdock’s funeral and grieved for the husband she left behind. “I know what he’s about to go through,” she said as she cried. She was inconsolable. One of the strongest, most brilliant women I know and at this loss, a reminder of her own, I remembered again.
I have lost an aunt, and a cousin. People mainly at fingertips distance. Nothing like what I experienced proximally with Jewels.
This morning I woke up crying. Ten years. And I sang Imagine in my head and prayed for Denise.
The loss of my best friend’s father, Rich Bellezza, was my first encounter with the word and all that it meant. That day never leaves you. Those feelings never leave you. That ache…it never leaves you. But the love makes it all bearable. Though breath may be short and hard to come by, its there. So is the smile, forever etched to memory. The warm hellos and every tender goodbye, even the last. You carry it in your heart along with them. And on the day, you feel the heaviness of your heart so filled with moments, let them out relive them, give them light; love never leaves the ones we’ve loved, we reside in these moments and in this way we are eternal.
In loving memory to a man who will always be missed. I give you light today.