On The Death of a Friend

Elliott

I am so incredibly blessed to have known Elliott Orr as long as I have, although the time is never enough. Growing up in the church together, coaching soccer together. The memories I will cherish forever. There are so many people that have been touched by his laughter, his selfless love, and unwavering faith. Such a beautiful soul through the hardest times. His journey has touched so many lives and inspired me to see beauty in dark hours. I pray for peace and strength and comfort to his family, wife, friends. God bless you and everything you have brought to this world.

May you be at rest with the Lord, Coach. Your memory will forever be in my heart.

Death is not something I have ever been able to process easily. From losing my mother at a young age, to countless relatives and more friends than I would care to see go. Cancer has taken so many from me in such a short span of life. I find myself always struggling to process the emotions that flood me in these times.

I seem to always begin with a selfish regret… “I should have been around more, I said I would visit, I wish I would have held that friendship closer and done more to be a support system.” After the regret I move fiercely in to anger. I don’t think there will ever come a time when I will not feel angry when someone loses their life to cancer. It’s a nasty thing and by God I do not understand it. Maybe it’s a lack of knowledge and understanding, and honestly I should have sat down with Elliott a time or two and simply asked, “You are a young, vibrant, amazing young man who had so much passion for life. How do you not let yourself become angry with God? You praise his name daily and ask for prayers for others before yourself! How do you find the trust in him that this is his will and his plan for you is greater than what we can comprehend?” It takes every fiber of my being not to curse him in this hour. I never preach to be the best Christian by any stretch of the imagination, but my biggest struggle is when he tests me to keep loving him when good people are taken from this world, in my opinion, way too soon.

Following anger is the incredible heartbreak, a sadness from loss that can not be described. You feel so much that it physically hurts. Now if you know me, you’re aware that feelings of sadness are not emotions that I am willing to wear openly. I don’t cry in front of others, I stand strong, hold fast, show no weakness if you will. I’m the tough one in the face of difficult times. But loss is a sadness I can’t conceal. Tears will flood my eyes beyond my control.

But once the tears subside I will come to find a place of acceptance. Acceptance for the  bigger plan. Acceptance of the comfort in Heaven that the suffering can now feel. Through all the anger and regret, I always find solace that the departed have left to be with the Lord.

“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” – Henry Thoreau

It’s a testament to my friend Elliott that over 700 people showed up for his funeral. I can also promise that many were still missing. But the truly miraculous thing to watch is how peaceful and blessed everyone who knew him continues to be. myself included. I find myself laughing at the things that used to infuriate me, “my truck has been recalled?! HAHA of course it has, I’ll call next week”, “I can feel cold air leaking in through the kitchen window now, the door wall can’t get fixed till spring, I definitely need to add insulation to stop all the freezing on my roof, guess I better start saving and planning”. My reactions in the past would have been much more aggressive, angry, full of cussing and confusion on why and how this is all happening. It’s interesting to me how one single human can drastically make you reevaluate your priorities and what you find important enough to fuss over.

So more than anything, through all the processes of emotions I must land my final emotion on a feeling of thanks. A thank you to a kid who was able to bring so much perspective to my world, so much more evaluations of being thankful as opposed to being irritated. Positivity above anything else.

Thank you Elliott, coach, friend. I will forever be grateful for your mark on this world.

Contributions in memory of a wonderful man can be made here:

Elliott Orr Mission and Scholarship Project Fund, c/o Scott Orr, P.O. Box 248, North Branch, MI. 48461

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