‘People die, but love doesn’t’

Those are the words of my minister that are consoling me this week. Mia’s godmother Caitlin Yakscoe died Sunday morning at the precious age of 30. She has been seriously ill since we’ve known her and I haven’t seen her since Mia’s baptism more than three years ago. 

As I get older, I am increasingly confronted by pain, suffering and death. And honestly, I don’t know how we, as people, do it. How do we get through even a day of pain and suffering when we know where it’s headed? And yet we do. Because we are not just these magnificent, beautiful, flawed and ultimately unreliable bodies. We are will. We are spirit. We are despair. We are denial. We are grief. We are hope. We are love.

If you loved Katy and you showed her that, even knowing she would die someday soon, it mattered. She lived years with her life’s conclusion hanging low upon her. It is a miracle of sorts.

If you loved Katy, but didn’t want to get too close, because you feared the sadness or dying or didn’t think it would matter, I think I understand, and the good news is, it’s OK. Others did, too. The truth is, you’ll have another chance. It’s the nature of living and dying.

A fear many of us share is that loving a losing cause will break us. 

And we’re right. It will. 

But the only chance we stand in this world that, left to its own logic, will ultimately let us down is to believe in the breaking open. Open to God. To our better selves. To each other. To the universe. To something more than this game of decline and decay.

Katy persevered in painful, difficult times. She did her best, and her time of carrying this burden has ended. Amen. Her goddaughter happily carries her name into the future. I know this because Sunday morning, as Katy was breathing her final breaths in this world, Mia was in my house and I was teasing her, calling her “cheese fry” or another of my names, and she said, “Grandguy, you’re so silly. I’m Mia Caitlin.” She said it twice. That stuck with me when I heard the news about Caitlin.

We live in those who remember us, and those who love Caitlin carry her forward. As long as she is remembered, she lives. This life within others when we are no longer physically present is one I place my confidence in. There are a lot of stories about our selves and what comes next. I don’t trust those. I trust people and their memories.

Rest in peace, Caitlin Yakscoe. You are a child of god and mystery and love.

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