You don’t know me and we’ve never met so I can understand if this comes off as too presumptuous. I climb mountains, too, and your wake is being held two blocks from where I live. It’s funny how humans attempt to create meanings from even the flimsiest connections.
If death is finality, then I hope life has been good to you. I hope you laughed and cried to your heart’s content. I hope you played in the rain, squished mud in your hands and ran as fast your legs could carry you. I hope you loved truthfully and passionately, and were loved with as much truth and passion in return. I hope you captured the richest patch of beauty on your viewfinder but I also hope your lens wasn’t blind to the grime and ruthlessness of the world.
I hope your loved ones find solace in the midst of grief. I hope your mother would have the chance to shed tears in private, without the glare of a camera, an intrusive microphone and an insensitive media exploiting her heartbreak.
I hope your memory won’t be reduced to a cautionary tale, a two-minute segment on the evening news. I hope your life won’t be condensed to a trite summary of “that guy who fell off a cliff and died.”
If there is an afterlife, then I hope it treats you well. I hope there are more mountains to climb on the other side. I hope gravity is kinder and there are no more falls. If you do fall again, I hope the ground catches you gently. I hope goodbyes are not the end and heaven is more than wishful thinking.
Talk is cheap, words are worthless, and even the most beautiful eulogies are of no use to you now. They are only cold comfort to the living who must make sense of a sudden loss, a life unceremoniously taken away. I don’t know how far hope can take us, maybe to eternity or maybe just until the maggots get to us. But nonetheless, here’s hoping.