Friday, February 27, 2009

Taking a moment

  For the second time this week, somebody I know has died.

  The first was a man I had known my entire life, who for many years lived right up the street. He was the patriarch in one of my many surrogate families. You may remember reading one of my blogs on another site a while back about a friend of mine who died in a bike accident. This was his father. It’s hard to accept now that the entire family is gone. First the mother, then the son, now the father. I spent countless hours with them in my youth, and now they don’t exist anymore. Ponderous.
  The second bit of bad news came yesterday, and hit harder. A man I had come to think of as a grandparent for the last ten years passed away. While not altogether unexpected, it was still a bitter pill to swallow. I still have his last email in my inbox, telling me that he was going to have surgery to remove a lung.
  For the last few weeks, I’ve been going at 150%, burning the candle at both ends. Some days, I’ve been running on sheer willpower, because it’s all I have left. An overly busy schedule, lack of sleep, skipped meals and physical and mental exertion have run me so ragged that three separate health professionals have told me in the last two weeks to slow down. I finally heeded their advice last night and took some time, more though to mourn a loss rather than rest.
  Pictures can take on such a different meaning when there is a drastic change of circumstance. Loves lost, death, age. I viewed a lot of history last night, and experienced the full gamut of emotions from grief to happiness. Mostly I enjoyed fond memories of visits, family meals together, and stories- oh, the stories! This man had one of the most interesting lives I had ever been privileged to hear. One of my goals was to sit down with him someday, turn on a recorder, and just have him talk at length. Sadly, it never came to pass, and now that narrative is lost.
  If I sit and close my eyes, I can picture him perfectly. I can see his broad grin and hear his laugh. I can hear every pronunciation from his heavy Kentucky drawl. It makes me smile, and that’s a good thing. I’m not sad.
  I could recount a book of stories and experiences, but some of my favorite memories come from walks he and I would take together through the tiny burg of Smithland. He’d grab Libby, his much beloved pooch, and head out on the narrow road bordering the river. I would join him every time, whether the humid night air was alive with June’s fireflies or if it was the dead of winter and the icy wind was howling. We had some great talks and shared a lot of laughs.
  I’ll always fondly remember those walks, and that’s how I’ll choose to picture Bob when I think of him. He always used to tell me that people said, “There goes Libby and that ol’ guy she walks.”
  I love you, ol’ guy. Rest now.


  1. "For the second time this week, somebody I know has died." This my friend is a sure fire symptom that you have lost your youngster status. Kinda sux. Sorry for your loss.