Monday, June 27, 2011

A New Reality

Someone who I have known a very long time recently died. I like to say it was unexpectedly, but it was unexpected for no one but me. He was in his 80's. He was 11 years older than me, and I never expected that he would die before me although that is not reasonable anymore than my deep seated belief that somehow the Grim Reaper would keep missing me and go for someone else. We all have that hope. It is unreasonable and it is in vain. We all meet in the cemetery for a laugh when this life is over.

I pictured him on the highway of life as a yellow car with the license tag that said "splat" and driving ahead of me. I remember feeling quite astonished that he would do that, go ahead without me. I am sure some of you reading this, should there be any, would say so what? Well, this friend was a basic part of me, a someone that I admired and looked up to, a plank in my life. He wasn't supposed to go before me. I still remember him as I did the first time I met him as a young man although he definitely wasn't the last time I saw him. I guess I ignore who I see in the mirror when I wash my hands in the bathroom or comb my hair.

I have been thinking of him for a while and processing other memories for the last week. When it rains, it pours. It seems like a wake-up call for me. I have a grown up child who says to me "you always think it is about you." Well, I don't have anyone else in this body. Yes, it is about me when one thinks about death. My friend isn't here to tell me that I should be thinking of him. He isn't him anymore. I don't know who he is except he isn't him anymore. So, I think of me since I am me. My son thinks I am mad and I guess this proves it. Sigh.....

I do miss him. I can't call him anymore. I want to pick up the phone and ask him where he is. Even my Android, which can do almost everything, can't do that. I probably been thinking about him more than I usually do but really about me when you get down to it. Death seems friendlier to me now. I am not wishing for it but it seems more possible now that people I know seem to be disappearing.

When you hear about an accident or war and there are lots of deaths that is sad but when it is someone you know quite well, it is different. I am lucky in that I have never lost a child. There were times in the past in this country where it was expected to lose one. People lose them but not as much. People see them die in other countries still. There is no differences between people in other countries and myself but the luck of being born in one place from being born in another.

I used to know this woman, named Pamela who hated to talk about death. Wouldn't you know she died. At least she didn't have to talk about anymore. She died in a traffic accident and never knew what hit her. It was a drunk driver who died too when he plowed into her car as she stopped for a red light. She thought if she did not discuss death, it would not happen to her. So much for that theory. she was in her 40's which was a shame. The drunk driver was a kid in his teens.

This is not an essay about where my friend went for I have no idea. I just saw him heading down the road without me. Anyone who says where people go after death is just whistling in the dark. I do believe we were all in that place before being born but I don't remember. None of us do with the possible exception of some Zen Masters, I suppose. They aren't saying too much. They're meditating. As for me, a new picture of reality has emerged from all of this as it does for each of us when our friends and relatives die. Then we get up off our duffs and get on with our lives until it is our time to head on down the road towards that mystery ourselves.

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