Saying goodbye to a dear friend.

There is a higher place.

It is a place we all know. It is our hopes and dreams, our perfect manifestation of a perfect life. We express our experience with the higher place in our work, our families, and who we choose to be. Those connected to our higher places are often the most important people on our journey. This remains true even when our connections faded long ago. We remain connected, an archive of this mythical place.

It is so rare to discover this place with another. To walk through the gates simultaneously. To have a partner in the discovery of this magic. Brian and I discovered our higher place together. We discovered it in song.

In this higher place, we are not limited by our bodies, our resources, or abilities. The confusion and pain in life instantaneously transformed into purpose, energy, declarations, meaning, and ecstasy. We can transform into our most true apparitions of ourselves. We can transcend the earthly existence we were born into. We are more than just the sum of our parts. The truth of this is obvious in this place. We are joined with something bigger than ourselves, yet it is also ourselves. It is something ancient, something pure, something truer than our worldly states.

Some may call this a spiritual experience or awakening. Others, finding your purpose. A peak experience, a calling, a gift. I think you may know of the experience that I describe.

Brian and I shared in the discovery of this place, this place between places.

So what does this mean?

This means that when we made the discovery we got to look each other in the eye and say “holy shit”. It meant that because we shared and understood the experience of discovery of this ethereal place, we held each other’s key to enter. It was a feeling, a memory, an oath. Perhaps more importantly, we discovered that we could add to this place. We could define it, grow it, shape it… and it would do the same to us. We were changed, transformed. This was fantastical, magical. There really aren’t words to describe it.

But like all higher places, they are higher. Meaning they don’t exist on this earthly plane. And that’s a hard lesson to learn. But we found a workaround, you see. We could take pieces of this higher place; parts, and entities, and display them when we returned. They were emblems of who we truly were and the path we would cut into this world. These entities are in the form of songs.

Brian and I were about fourteen when we discovered this place, though we were friends long before this. We discovered an Eden of endless possibilities and purposes. We would be forever bound by this experience.

And we’d go back to this higher place. Sometimes together. Sometimes apart. It was a blessing, you see. A gift. And we knew the importance of it and we kept it sacred.

Later in life, Brian would constantly remind me of the importance of this higher place. He would instruct me that it alone was truly the important thing. He would warn me against becoming too wrapped up in this earthly place. He reminded me that the most important things were those we simply didn’t always have the words to explain.

It’s important to note that Brian was enormous in this higher place. He was a giant. He was more of this world than of ours. All who know him understand this at some level. Sometimes, this looked…strange. He was often the loudest person in the room. He would always touch you when he spoke to you. I guess because he wanted to remind you as well of the importance of this higher place. And sometimes it took that disruption of an unexpected touch to break through our social programming. Connection, love, meaning. He wanted you to remember why it is you came here.

This was a power I resisted for most of our time together. But eventually, I gave in. Because… in all my studies and searching I found that … he was right. We came here to connect to each other, to experience one another deeply, and explore this mystery. And Brian did.

Brian and I recently had a discussion about meaning. All of the things we thought we wanted in life. The things we grew up wanting, feeling like we had to have – the job, career, money, or sex – it was about finding what all this means to us. And realizing that in all this searching we found that we already had everything we needed. And the journey is really about coming to terms with this truth.

So…What does that mean?

Hmmm… I think we were talking about a deep realization and comfort in the purpose of your existence.

It almost seems too simple.

And that made it difficult to accept. But I do know that Brian held on to this purpose, this care, this love, this concern. And sometimes he did so to the point where it hurt him. And in this, he suffered. But Brian found a profound sense of meaning in how much he cared for me and all of you.

Brian’s life was filled with love, care, and feeling – so much feeling.

There may be no monument to his life, but this does not matter. It does not change the magnitude of his impact on all of our lives.

There is a higher place…

And perhaps the strangest thing about this is that Brian doesn’t feel gone. I thought it was denial at first. And maybe some of this feeling is that. But there is something else…

Yeah, he’s not gone. He is still in us. The important parts of us. He’s connected to us by that higher place. The place we go to…there and back again.

We’re more there than here, now.

I suppose this place has many names all referring to the same place…The light, the grey havens, the enlightenment, the transformation, heaven, eternal rest. We go there and back again. Bringing pieces back with us. Brian brought so many gifts from this place.

Some are so obvious you may not realize them. Brian is my open-heartedness, my extraversion, my sense of adventure, my sense of humor, why I call my mom, why I give hugs, why I sing, why I drink beer, why I like Saves the Day, my spirit, my courage, my love, my kindness, my voice, my laughter, and my tears. All these, sacraments from the higher place.

I can only guess that he is some or all of those things to you as well.

He’s still here you see, the important parts anyway. The troubled parts of Brian’s life will fade into insignificance and only the good will remain in our hearts.

In the final weeks of Brian’s life, I was more connected to him than I had been in years past. I am so. grateful. for. this.

In our usual cadence of conversation, he called on me to remember our higher place. We would share links to songs, the gift from our higher place. And if anyone has any doubts about the joy, love, and purpose that existed in Brian’s heart, let me read the lyrics to this song that Brian shared with me just a few weeks ago. A song that revisited his journey, his transformation, and his love for all of you.

The Best I’d Ever Had

It was a young and angry summer

A song changed my mind

I heard it on the radio

and if everyone else heard this

they wouldn’t be so sad

It was the best I ever had

We were right about it

No one could ever take that

While the world was waking up and putting on their suits I was planning my escape

They were wrong about us

We showed them not to doubt us

No one could ever take that

And if I could go back I’d do it all again

It was the best I’d ever had.

And if everyone else heard this, they wouldn’t be so sad

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BA in Psychology and MBA from Kent State. ENTJ Myers/Briggs and my love language is acts of service. However, I don’t think any of those things should provoke you to read my blog. Hmmm. I want to talk about things we all think about but, can’t freely talk about.

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