love loud.

As I wrote in my previous post, since last weekend – and our amazing writers conference – I have been home with the flu. Unfortunately, many of my people are also sick since conference, several with the C19.

One of our sick folk is our fabulous keynote speaker from last Friday night, Sean Dietrich. He is on the mend, but I do want to share his post when he reported that he was ill earlier this week because it is just lovely and also because it is closely tied to some of the things I have to say today as well.

Like Sean, a few things have happened this past week that have me thinking.

See, even during conference, I left Saturday afternoon to attend the funeral of one of my dearest friend’s mother. From one of the most joyful events of the year to one of the most difficult things we must do in this life – all in the span of a few hours.

In the midst of life we are in death, Episcopalians say at the graveside. — Joan Didion

That quote of Joan’s ran through my mind several times on Saturday as I was going back and forth.

What’s more, as I was following Siri to the funeral home from the church where the conference was being held, only a few miles apart, I was beginning to feel a terrible anxiety come over me. It wasn’t a funeral home or death anxiety – this nurse and death book lady doesn’t really have those; it was the overwhelm of knowing my dear friend’s pain and my inability to stop it. 

Earlier that day, someone at conference had just been fascinated by my troll tattoo and I had stopped and told her all about it, as it is a memorial piece for my dear friend Ryan, and the last gift he gave me, a vintage troll he found when he was out picking that I just love. It made my heart smile to talk about him and think of him – and then, as I was going to the funeral home and starting to really get upset, Cowboy Mouth, Ryan’s favorite band, came on my radio for the first time in probably over a year, playing Jenny Says, the most crazy upbeat song on the earth.

Oh. My. Word.

Of course, I said hello to Ryan and turned it way up, as it seemed like he was in the car. Well, I was following Siri along as she told me to turn left – which I just assumed was onto the next street, thinking I had farther to go. . .

I KNOW that Ryan had the BEST laugh watching me go sailing into the funeral home parking lot with some Cowboy Mouth blaring. . . Oof.

Hey, y’all, I’m here.

Still, that hello from Ryan was just what my anxious heart needed right then to stop a total panic. ❤

At the same time, as always when I am traveling and doing fun things and conferencing, my sweet Lindsey goes with me – and I miss her so damn much too.

In the midst of life we are in death, Episcopalians say at the graveside.

After I came home Saturday night, my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful date, watching the live stream of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors as I mentioned in my previous post. What I didn’t say – as we watched Drew’s 40th Birthday – was that Lindsey and I had a special connection over Drew and Ellie’s music – and they were her college friends.

It was just a phenomenal show – with an ache for her absence, for the messages unsent that I know would have – should have – been.

Finally – I know this is a heavy post, sometimes it’s a heavy life – I learned later this week of a high school mates death over last weekend very unexpectedly. It is just heartbreaking.

A few days later, I was running late to post a “Happy Birthday” on another friend’s Facebook page. I had been trying and getting sidetracked for several days – luckily she knows me and knows that just meant my heart was in the right place and she’d been on my mind for three days. . .

That said, when I finally did get there, I saw that our friend who died had posted a birthday message to her not too long before he left.

It was just an ordinary birthday message – but it kind of took my breath for a minute.

In the midst of life we are in death, Episcopalians say at the graveside.

Already having some dearly loved friends and family members on the other side, having walked through some stunning losses, and knowing just how frail we are, I am reminded again – and oh so often – to love loud.

Be ridiculous with the “I Love Yous” and the texts and the birthday cards and the inside jokes and the sharing goofy memes. When you think about someone, take two minutes to send them a note. Be a hugger. 

I don’t know when my last day will be – hopefully a long time from now – but I certainly hope that I’ve spent it leaving lots of “happy birthdays” and “I love yous” too. ❤

For Ryan (all the feels):

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

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