Help me Remember not to Forget

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* I wrote this a year ago, and since today is a year after Nobbe's passing, I thought it was time to share some thoughts. “Life is so short.”  This is a phrase we’ve heard a million times as we rush around our lives, busy busy busy, meeting goals, checking off to-do lists, getting things done.  Life is so short.  And we rush along to try to accomplish the things we want to have done before our time runs out, before the end of the race, before we’re swept away hoping that we’ve left our imprint on this world.

I think of these things after receiving the news that a friend has passed on - completely unexpected.  I’m not even sure what happened, but in this strange age we live in, Facebook ends up being the bearer of bad news. How many times have I sat in front of my laptop late at night weeping over the news from Facebook that someone I love is no longer with us.  Scouring through the timeline posts, looking at the last things that person was thinking about, and wishing I could have said one last word…one last “I love you.”
The news brought to me last night is that Nobbe K is gone. Nobbe was a great photographer and someone I was just getting to know. I met him at a show, he shot some great photos and told me that if I provided a couple of beers for him, he’d come and shoot my shows. So nice!  He came to the next show and then through some FB chats we decided to do an exchange: I’d play at the opening of his new photo studio in exchange for a photo shoot for some press photos for the new album.
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We met up a week ago and had a great time together. Trying to find the right backgrounds, letting us try out some crazy ideas (burning eye), and just having fun with it all. For him it was working towards fixing up a great new studio (and then opening). Things were moving forward, plans were in action, exciting times were to come, then...
STOP.  It’s over.  That’s it.
It feels so mean, so wrong.
Nobbe and I weren’t close, I’m not going to pretend we were good friends or something, we were just getting to know each other- but from the time I got to spend with him, I’m so thankful to have known him.  He was kind, super talented, smart and a generous guy.
And now there’s a hole where he once was.  I hate death.  I mean, who doesn’t, right? I hate it with a passion.  If anyone knows my music, they know I write about it a lot.  The horridness of death makes me look at my life and ask- what’s REALLY important.  I’ve been running around trying to get this album finished, busy wanting to do it right, mixing, mastering, promoting, timelines, deadlines, to-do lists.  Don’t understand me wrong - I love it- this has been such an exciting process.  BUT I don’t want to get TOO busy, because in the end, it’s people not goals, it’s relationships, not to-do lists that are what lasts, right?
I mean I do want to leave some kind of musical and artistic imprint on this world.  I want to leave hope, I want to leave love, I want to leave beauty.
We all have to go through life and pay the bills, and eat, and find our place in this world.  We all have to figure out how to live, but what really lasts?  That’s what I ask myself often.  And when someone is suddenly gone, I feel what lasts is (without getting cliche here) well,  is the love we received from that person.  It’s the memories.  And that’s what I really hope to leave behind too.  To leave a mark on this world by loving those around me.  Through being there for one another, through connecting, through sharing moments, through really looking at each other and loving the quirkiness about each other, through forgiving, through soaking in the uniqueness of the ones who are around us, through giving tight hugs, through making that phone call, through sharing a meal, through being a listening ear- these small acts of love these are the things that last and make us feel like we’re really living life, right?  I guess I’m still asking myself these questions.
This is the second time this week that I’ve been sitting in front of the computer crying.  My friend Ingrid passed away this last week.  She and I were close years ago when we lived in Minneapolis together.  I would come over to her house and she would make these yummy Dutch meals and we would talk and pray and laugh and just be there for one another.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer and from the time of that diagnosis, she lived her life in a way that was so beautiful and full of life.  I didn’t get to see Ingrid before she died, but I watched from a far the way she looked death in the face and fully and passionately embraced the life she had left before her, every second of it. Can’t we all live like that?  Can’t I live like that?
It’s the moments isn’t it?  The sitting around the table and belly laughing together.  It’s closing my eyes on a warm spring day and feeling the sun warming my skin.  It’s watching my daughter run towards me bringing me flowers, it’s enjoying a great meal, it’s looking deep into someones eyes and telling them that you love them.  This is living.  I know that life is filled with all kinds of crappy things and a whole heck of a lot of injustice, but we can’t let the joy be stolen from us.  Because of the regret of the past and fear of the future, we can’t let the NOW be stolen from us.
As I remember Nobbe, and Ingrid, and my friend TJ who also hasn’t been away that long, I want to remember and keep in check to live fully, to love fully, to make memories, and enjoy the moments, to not to get too busy, to feel the air being pulled into my chest, and out again, to be thankful that my blood is warm, that my body works, that the world is full of wonder and beauty, and to not forget to love.  I’m pretty sure that’s all that matters in the end.  Help me remember not to forget.