Today, Bradley Lea – my friend, my one-time coven brother who never considered that bond broken – passed into the arms of the Goddess. This is cold comfort for me, though, because I am selfish.
I am selfish because I want one more coven meeting where the women yell, “Bradley!”
I am selfish because I want one more opportunity to think, “damn, he DOES smell pretty.”
I am selfish because I want to share one more beer with him.
I am selfish because I want just one more game of pool at Mug’s.
I am selfish because I want to hear him call me “brother” one more time.
I am selfish because I want to see him riding up on his bike and know he’s alright.
My grief is a very selfish thing. I didn’t want him to die. I didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t want anything to change. Unfortunately, we do not get to pilot anyone else’s ship.
We are the pilots of our own ships, and we are all plying the waters of the sea of life. Sometimes, the waters are calm and we cluster together for companionship with other ships. Other times, the waters are rough, and we cluster together even more.
The unavoidable and inescapable fact is that no two ships can ply the same course. Though both of our bows may point to the North Star, we follow slightly different courses. But that’s okay. We are together, even if only side by side, even if only for a time, so we make the most of it.
We all eventually point our ship away from the fleet of our loved ones, and strike off to the unknown. Those still in the fleet shout in fear for us, thinking we are lost, but it is not us for whom they fear. They fear for themselves, that they will look up and find that they are all alone, without a fleet. However, they are not alone, for they are part of a limitless fleet of ships.
We, too, are not alone, even then. Eventually, the time will come for our Navigator to direct us to steer toward our destination. We have no reason to fear because our Navigator is with us, has always been with us, and will always be with us. Our Navigator has charted this course, and is there to help ease the final leg of our voyage.
I am selfish.
I wish that I didn’t have to write this about a man I was proud to call friend. I wish that I didn’t have to feel my own fear as I see his ship sailing over the horizon. I wish that I didn’t have to accept that my fleet has shrunk by one.
I am proud of the memories I have of Bradley. I am proud of the time I spent with him. I am proud to say that I knew a great man. For all of my grief at his passing, my memories are good memories, and they shine as a reflection of who he was. Bradley Lea was a great person, a living example of what we should strive to be in our own lives, and I will never forget him.
May his ship forever find fair skies and calm waters.
…and I will remember.