I usually try to avoid the heavy subjects, but they are always confronting us, and can’t be avoided, really.
When you’re young you think you’ll live forever. Occasionally something will happen to jolt that unwarranted perspective, but for the most part, the thought of death is fleeting. It happens to other people, not to you. As your life marches on, however, that drumbeat gets louder and louder.
I dated a girl in high school (just a couple times actually) who recently passed away, and of course it caused me to reflect on this heaviest of subjects. I also have a very close friend who came very close to death a few months ago, so as I said, I hear that drumbeat in the background very clearly now.
When I was a freshman in high school, I remember seeing this guy named Frank in one my classes who was a very large person, and I thought at the time: whatever you do, don’t make that guy mad. I got to know him later on, and I couldn’t have been more wrong about someone – he was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He was a “gentle giant.” We became pretty good friends in high school, and several years later, when he was interviewing for a job, he came and visited me when I was living in San Diego. I lost touch with him after that. Life goes on, and you lose contact with people.
Many years later, I was back in Bakersfield, and was told by another friend that Frank was living in Tehachapi, about 40 miles away. I kept telling myself to call him up and go see him, but I never got around to it. That other friend also said that Frank had been sick, but he wasn’t sure exactly what the illness was. I had no idea it was serious, I assumed he would recover, but I kept telling myself to call him and go visit him.
I should have listened to my thoughts, because he passed away about a year later. I was so mad at myself for not reaching out to him, and now he was gone.
Some parts of life you never do get used to, and this is certainly one of them.