We share time and space with good friends, but that surely comes to an end some day. People go their separate ways and adventures fade into memory. Those brief periods where we're all aligned will fade as members pursue go on to their own adventures.
Worse still, friends die. Tragically, suddenly, or sometimes you even know in advance that they're going to pass away.
No matter how it happens, I still feel the pang of grief for lost connections. Learning to cope with that grief has been a tough journey that hits time and time again.
Community has been a solace to me. Having a support network of friends and acquaintances strengthens me to handle those macabre moods.
What I've found most helpful is reminiscing about those absent friends, about adventures and shenanigans we've done, then sharing those stories with others. With friends who knew them as well, it's fun to play "Remember when...?"
When you instead have newer friends in the community, another way to cherish the absent is to share those stories anew. To develop a collective memory that immortalises those lost friends. A legacy, a legend, or what-have-you.
That shared memory in a community is a fascinating topic in itself. I believe that people are better together than they are apart, that the sum is greater than its parts alone. More people together do a better job at recalling stories. And when it comes to remembrance, the more stories the merrier!
Collective memory within my family also is what helped us cope with the passing of my mother. We shared our stories with each other to better remember her by, and the ensure that those stories did not fade into the fog of time.
Yet when we lost my mom, our collective memory had a hole torn through it. She remembered a lot of adventures for us, and then one day she was gone. Poly Land has an article about this loss of shared memory that I appreciate:
Of course, when the loss is not so drastic as death there's always some possibility of coming back together and forming a new web of community and adventures.
It's nearly impossible to go back to the way things were originally. People change, but often for the better. If you all return together, you often bring a massive collection of fulfilment and enriching experiences.
Even if you cannot go back to the past, you can still build something great again.