Another warrior in Valhalla

November 16, 2011

Of all the arguments I’ve embraced regarding why living to 80, 90 or 100 years old is a bad idea for me, I didn’t anticipate one:  Burying the young.

Why are we never prepared to bury those who are younger than ourselves?  Yet, in retrospect, this is obviously part of outliving our own youth.  Recently I’ve heard of or seen babies buried while their 20-something parents struggle to understand the depth of their own loss.  I’ve seen teens die by gunfire.  It’s horrible, really.  In what way does life prepare us for this?  I wasn’t prepared, that’s for sure, and I never knew how unprepared I was until today when I learned of the death of a young cousin by marriage.

Tall, blonde, scarred.  Heavily tattooed and pierced, Chris was a rebel.  He’s gone now, leaving behind three little daughters, a wife, and a family torn by grief.  He also leaves behind one tired middle-aged witch who wonders, did he ever know how much I admired him?  Did he ever know that every time I saw him I thought “Viking”?

Well, he’s in Valhalla now, and I’m left without any words of comfort for his family other than telling them that he made a difference while he was here.  He was fierce and gentle and strong all at the same time.  I noticed. I saw.  How could anyone not see?  He carried himself like the warrior that he was.

The world is short one warrior tonight and just at the time when we needed him the most.  But the fires in the Great Hall are brighter for his presence.

Continue to burn brightly, Chris.  We’ll see your glow from here, I promise.