Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The long goodbye

Let me fill you in on a little secret: You saw someone today that is going to die.
As a matter of fact, you saw a lot of people that are going to die.
And it all started this morning when you glanced in the mirror and tried to understand the ball of electrons and atoms staring back at you, vibrating in some form of reality that your mind tries to understand. But in reality doesn't get one bit of..

I knew someone who died today. A few days ago, I alluded to a friend who was afflicted with cancer, and who was succumbing to the disease after his battle began to end. He passed away from this world early in the morning, and has become the latest person in my life and close circle of friends and family to meet destiny. I suppose someone out there reading this right now may have the same moment of sadness and grief as well. Death is common, after all..

My heart is distraught and my mind is reeling. I am attempting to understand the significance of life and somehow juxtapose that with the rapidity of death. Our arrogance and affluence permits us to borrow time. But that time is fleeting. All things must end, including the worries and fears, smiles and hugs. All things must end..
And that's the part that darkens my spirits this evening..

The internet has been a wonderful thing. And an awful thing all at the same time. For much of my life, I expressed myself in private settings. I would summons my artistic powers and draw cartoons or comics in the good times. In the bad times I'd plant the seed of darkness and expel all of my emotions using less vibrant colors.. less humor.. More of the deeper stuff, I suppose. But with the advent of the Internet during my late high school years, that source of artistic adventure was turned off, met instead with the HTML coding and eventually blog services that would steal the paint.  I have tried to draw now and then. For the most part I either can't think of something or I am mentally unable to focus long enough to make a picture look good, good like I think they used to.  So instead now, I write.
And tonight I feel that need to write, to get thoughts down in this setting, and surrender myself for a while to the tears that indeed are flowing due to the death of a friend.

This special person and I were also coworkers. Most of the time, when we talked, our chats would turn into conversations and often times feel never ending. But in a very good way. Once we got work off the table, our talks would turn deeper and other-worldly.  He, like me, consistently pondered about the meaning of life, the purpose of our bodies, and the questionable reality of our souls. I often thought that God is math, he thought God was electricity. Either way, neither of us had the belief that God was the large white male with a beard that Catholic nuns had taught us. A little more of a nuanced approach to faith was in play once we got talking..

I will forever miss these talks--these amazing moments in which both of us let our guards down on purpose and spoke freely and openly about fears and superstitions, facts and figures.  Now tonight, I suppose one can say he knows the answers to the mysteries of the planet earth.
As do many others by the second.

x x x

My son falls asleep to music now. Instead of bed time stories, we quietly play YouTube videos of songs he likes to relax him. His little four-year-old nature is perceptive. He knew I was sad today and asked why.. I honestly told him what had occurred, and he looked down and admitted "that is sad, Daddy." Of course, as a child would do, he eventually wanted to think about those innocent kid things again. Which was fine for me, wrestling my son when he is calling himself the Incredible Hulk is much better than focusing on negativity all night.
But before he fell asleep, he picked the CIRCLE OF LIFE song from the LION KING. Somehow the words had an extra special meaning today, this day, when the CIRCLE OF LIFE was completed for one and undoubtedly beginning for a lot more..

x x x

The death toll in Nepal is rising rapidly. And that is the horror so often seen in this world. One earthquake has taken the lives of thousands of poor people who were living in squalor already. The Prime Minister said the numbers could get to a frightening level of 10,000 or more.. Death at that scale happens from time to time on this planet. Either Mother Nature is busy utilizing the tricks of the trade to steal the lives of humans, or Man himself thinks of plots to murder his fellow friends on the earth. Deadly days are always here--the end of the world, feared by many, happens every single day.

x x x

I am not a hopeless person. I am not someone who enjoys reliving the dour over and over again--some who know me, even close friends, often accuse me of that very thing. Instead, I contemplate these events of sadness and grief in an attempt to understand them. Sometimes even to quell my loud laughter on purpose.. because I need to know what I am laughing at. Events of awful nature can often put things in a greater perspective.
Ever have one of the day job moments when backbiting, sour apple co-workers, and meaningless office politics takes over your existence? When you think that those things actually matter? You get shaken up now and then.
You meet a bigger destiny..
You often meet a maker.

x x x

Death has been called the great equalizer. We all share one bond on this planet, regardless of rich or poor dispositions: We will have the common event of an ending at some point.
We hope far away in the distance.. We long for the taste and smells of life. But they go away..

x x x

I recall about a year ago, my work had a conference. That same person who died today was alive and well then, just diagnosed with cancer.  He and others, along with me, went to a fancy steak house and he splurged, buying all of us dinner and a few rounds. He wanted no argument at the time the bill came. He wanted to pay. That was his nature--but that night even more, because he wanted us to remember a rancorous good time of loud laughter, cold beer, and great food. All on him--his gift to us... This is one of his finest moments, and perhaps one of his happiest. The sight of us allowing him to get the tab made him the happiest man in the room that evening.
He was a consummate professional but also a never-ending entertainer. He played songs loud and sang louder. He lit up a room when he entered.
Those rooms lit by the fiery of his existence are dark this night.

x x x

What is life?
What is death?
Those questions are asked to often we fail to even care anymore..

Instead in the age of smart phones when a hand held device gives us all of the information we crave, we stopped asking the important things.

Hillary Clinton is apparently going against some of Bill's crime policies from the 90s.  Jeb Bush did something too. I don't recall what it was. And I frankly don't care. These are not the stories of human passion that we should be hearing.

We should be racing for the stars, trying to find Mars..
By now cancer should be gone..
At this point, all people should have a chance for a happy life.
Every child should share in the dreams of a planet..
Life is too short..
By the time you get to this point in this posting, it's even shorter for you.

 

x x x

A little rock and roll heaven may be needed for a moment like tonight..
So enjoy it..
Life is only a one night stand. If you believe in forever, of course.

So do you believe in forever?

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