It’s tough to know where to begin. It seems like whenever I want to really convey something meaningful there is a long period of blank document staring. I fixate on the cursor blinking in and out of existence like a heartbeat, and that is life. And it’s death. It’s what is here one second and gone another. It’s the universal cycle that was here long before anyone connected a life metaphor to a cursor, and it will be here long after computers are a distant memory. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about someone passing, and it won’t be the last.
Bear with me.
I think abandoning the tradition of a funeral and replacing it with a celebration of life is a good thing. It may not trick your heart out of the ultimate reality of what has happened, but it’s a glass half full approach to life that we could use more of. Jeff would have wanted your glass to be half full of fancy craft beer and not half empty on sadness. Yet no matter how positive we put a spin on someone’s life, the fact that they aren’t there to be the center of the celebration speaks to the reality. The day we got together to celebrate Jeff’s life was a good day. It was more laughter than tears, and it had even some of the most beloved people I know asking that question, “when I die, will I be this loved?” That question I feel is less a question really, and more an impetus to touch the lives of people around us on a much deeper level.
So I’m not going to tell you a long story about how I knew Jeff McCue, or what he meant to me. I did that once already, and you can probably already guess that he was important. Or if you’re reading this because you were there that day, or wanted to be, then you already know. These photos aren’t necessarily the best of the best. It’s mostly just me wanting to slow time down just a little bit.
I’m not sure if anyone else noticed this, but this is the moment that stood out to me over everything that day. As a shadow fell over our group in the beginning of the service a bright beam of warm sunlight shone through the trees and fell on Betsy. Maybe that’s just the pattern of light that falls along that spot every day. To me it was something deeper.
The last photo I took of the ceremony before I put the camera down was this one of Bethel. Just to acknowledge how amazing a speaker she is, and how hard this must have been for her, and how lucky we are as a community to have all of these amazing people in our lives that come together.
You just would have had to been there to understand, but this moment was everything.
It isn’t just for the blue wig that Jeff Youngren is wearing that this photo had to be in color, but because a tribute to a colorful friend needs at least one moment of saturation.
At this moment you mean everything.
It’s not just this moment though. It’s all of the collective moments. It’s the moments that keep happening, the good, the bad, and the in between. We have a tendency as humans to react in a rallying force in the moments after a loss. Love is about being there when the dust settles. It’s about remembering and supporting the ones that are still here. So as much as this is day was a celebration of the maniac and awesome person that was Jeff McCue, Betsy is still here.
It’s not just this moment that our friends mean everything to us, it’s all the moments.