Today I add one more to the list of those for whom I’ve said my last goodbye. A friend of more than 20 years, dead from cancer. The killer was not so much the cancer as the Alzheimer’s that went along for the ride. As he began to realize that he was missing major parts of what was occurring around him, his will to continue simply evaporated. It was a downhill course from there and a rapid one. As I stand at the foot of his coffin today, saying those last words of farewell, I am all to aware at this juncture that my own time is far shorter than ever before. I will see the tears in the eyes of his family, see the resolve in the eyes of his club brothers, the stoicism in the eyes of his brother Veterans and understand each perspective far better than I have any desire to. I’ve stood here before. I’ve said these words before. I’ve seen these eyes before. At least, when my time comes, I will be spared all of these eyes. The ones which question, why? and I have no meaningful answer. The ones whose eyes suggest a new hero, a new someone who can be made a legend in the history of the club. The empty eyes, the ones that know death all too well, mine among them. At that time, when these eyes are closed, my hope is that all of those eyes will look elsewhere. The living to the living, for there will lay no hero, no legend, nothing extraordinary, just a simple man who lived expecting little, content with what was given, and thankful for the release from this present world.
I’m learning to bounce, not shatter
I’ve been falling for a while now.
It’s what happens after you leap.
When you are young and stupid, you leap easily.
And then it happens. You land. Ungracefully.
You smash into pieces.
And it hurts.
But you pull your pieces back together.
You stitch yourself back up.
Get a few scars.
Some places still hurt.
And then it happens again.
And then it happens again.
You crash into the rocks.
Your friends shout, “Enough!”
They don’t want you to leap, because it hurts them to see you hurt.
They don’t want you to leap, because they know how it feels to hurt.
And then what?
Well if you are me, you leap. Again.
But you try to learn.
You learn where the rocks are.
You are leaping in your mind—your mind makes the rocks.
And that’s important.
Things can go well.
You can fall…
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There is nothing quite so elegant as the moment in which one discovers in himself the raging evidence of relational double standards. A crushing blow dealt to rampant egocentrism. And yet there continues to exist that mildly nauseous feeling, part jealousy, part feeling betrayed and part knowing that I, myself, by my own relational style, encourage this very sort of behavior. Floundering in the sticky truth am I.