Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bury your dead

Live long enough and you will bury friends.

The news of their passing will finding you in the most casual of places. A phone call in the middle of a sporting goods store, late in the evening at home thinking about tomorrow's work or petting the dog, or like today driving in your car.

The phone rang an out of state number I didn't know and when I answered I was met with a young woman's voice "Is this Bohdi?" and right then and there I knew what had happened. Only about three people in the world call me that, and none of them were women. No one has called me "Bohdi" in a long time, and in a sense it's from another life.

That nick name was given to me by a good friend of mine named Jay, whom I met when I went through Executive Protection training years ago. Fetch as he was called was a twenty something SEAL (and Buddhist) when I met him. The real deal. Maybe it sounds trite, but to a then 21 year old wet behind the ears kid, here was a warrior god before me. And for what ever in the world reason he took a liking to me.

When our training was done he and I kept in contact here and there, at first, but then more and more as time went on. Jay eventually left the SEALs and went into "other" areas of government work, including a stint in North Africa hunting al Qeada, because warriors go where the fight is.

In 2002 I had some "interesting moments in travel" you could say, including one trip that took me to Panama for a very surreal, and dangerous few days. Getting your ass in a sling in Central America is always bad.

Getting your ass out of a sling in Central America with a buddy is only fun when you both make it home to reflect on surviving, still finding windshield glass from a very badly disabled Datsun in your bag.

Late last summer Jay/Fetch was working on a security team for some Italian nationals in Iraq when he and two or three others were killed by Terrorist. His sister said that he must have given them hell in the fight leading up to them being over run because they mutilated his body.

The sad and unfortunate state for me was finding so long after the fact. In going through some of Jay's things his family found notes of items he wanted certain people to have. One of those things was a "such and such knife to be given to Bodhi". Me. His sister said.

Maybe it would be bad enough to lose Fetch last year alone, but 2008 was such a bringer of death for me in my life.

One of my greatest friends and cousin died after a long battle with life. Dan for a lot of people wasn't an easy friend to have, except for me.

He was an uncle and big brother that I never got. Most of the family thought he was a hard headed ass, and they were right. He was also a damn fine man whom I am glad to have shared many a deer season with.

Paralyzed from the chest down at twenty-eight, burned in a small electrical fire in his thirties leaving him with third degree burns and, a wound that would never heal completely. In his forties he would end up having his right hand all but damn near shot off. Until finally a blood infection would leave him bed ridden and unable to speak while his mind was still fully functional (a hell on earth no doubt) for the last three years of his life.

God finally taking him home on April 4, 2008.

The last time we were together was the fall of 2004 at his farm. We stayed up late into the night smoking his cigars and talking about guns, life, family, my future wife and God.

We shared our favorite scriptures with one another, and then sitting in the cool November night air on his porch he told me he knew he was dying.

My heart sank. Because I knew he was right. "There are only so many Novembers Matt." He said, and I think we both knew it was our last time hanging out together because we shared what the other had meant to our lives and in good fashion we swapped guns.

I wish now I would have stayed a day or two longer now.

This past October an old friend of mind named Angie passed away in Texas after a long fight with cancer. It had been a few years since we had last spoken, and I did my best not to be affected by her dying. Including not going to her memorial service that they held here in town.

Finally last week I came across some photos of her and I and our friend Holly. And with the photos finally came the grief. More time than I had realized had passed, so had more life.

We all owe God a death. We are all mortal and no one reading this will escape it. Like Dan told me there are only so many Novembers, so many Tuesdays, and only so many days of bluest skies or rainy nights.

I've dodge death on more than a few occasions. Sometimes the call is so close you only have time for what comes out of your mouth, other times you wish you could just get another day.

Horatio Spafford understood the refuse of death we call grief.

He lost his only son in 1871, shortly there after came the Great Chicago fire that ruined him financially. Two years later still recovering from the loss he, his wife and four daughters planned to travel to Europe but duties in Chicago delayed him longer than they would have liked so he sent his wife and daughters on ahead.

While their ship was crossing the Atlantic it struck another ship, theirs sank rapidly and all four of Spafford's daughters died at sea. His wife Anna sent a now famous telegram that simply read "Saved Alone."

Shortly afterwards as he traveled to meet his grieving wife, Horatio Spafford was inspired to write these words...

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


Our conversation had started with me asking “ So who shot you in the throat? ”, a basic conclusion on my part, b ecause on one sid...