Turning Memories into Blessings

How do we justify the unjustifiable? How do we explain things that are unexplainable? How can we make rational sense of events that are not rooted in ration; things that defy the natural order of life; things that aren’t supposed happen? When a 21-year-old seemingly healthy girl dies of cancer, how do we make sense of it?

Unfortunately, these are questions we’ll never know the answers to. We try and try and try, but we can’t figure it out. We get angry at the world; mad at the universe for taking a life too soon. We feel helpless; a life is taken; yet the world keeps spinning. The sun sets as it did yesterday, and rises as it will tomorrow, and the world carries on with business as usual.

But to the mourning, it’s not business as usual. Our lives as we once saw them cease to exist, our path changed, our minds in disarray. ‘Why’ we scream, why did they take her! Why now? Why so young? Why do the greats go before they are meant to?

Its questions like this that engulf my thoughts during times of mourning. Why do the greats die young? What is the purpose of this? They had such a promising life ahead of them, so much to give to the world, so much joy to spread, and so many smiles to craft. For the answers, many people turn to religious teachings. They find peace in her peace. Contentment in the departure to a better place. A whole and just place, vacant of the imperfections of human existence.

When searching for the unanswerable, I always seem to end up back at the same conclusion: there are some people that are too good for this world. They were needed somewhere else. These people are the ones who seemed to always have it together way better than we did. They had it figured out. They’re the people we would look to in envy of their affect, their understanding of the gifts that they were given and their ability to utilize them. And when they pass, we are lost. We wish they were here with us, because they would know what to say. They would know how to cope. They’d know who to hug and who to make laugh. But unfortunately, they are not.  However, it is in these thoughts that we find strength.

In Jewish tradition, when mourning we say “zekher tzadik livrakha”, which translates to “may the memory of the righteous forever be a blessing”. In this I find comfort and strength. For the people who are too good for this world, their memory will forever be a blessing, a point of guidance as we try to make sense of everything. We can reflect on their lives and strive to live as they did. Maybe the reason they were taken from us too soon is to provide moral guidance; a lesson of some sorts; an anecdote to remember; an ideal to strive for. The best way to honor the late is to celebrate in the beauty of their spirit and everything it has given us. The good memories we had. The principles they stood for. The life they were living.

Corey was the kind of girl who always seems to say the thing that we all wanted to say but were too scared to say. She would never hesitate to say what you needed to hear, even when you didn’t want to hear it. She was kind to everyone and incredibly loyal to her friends. She was the one of the few girls I knew that could hang with the boys. Her down-to-earth affect put you at ease, and after an hour of conversation you felt like you knew her your whole life. Everyone needs to have a friend like Corey. One that goes beyond what is required of a friend. A friend that makes you better just by gracing you with their presence. We should honor her by being this friend to someone else. Her spirit will live in the comfort and companionship we find with each other.

Zekher tzadik livrakha, Corey, your memory will forever be a blessing.