Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The nature of things

The past couple of weeks have brought a tinge of melancholy to life. I guess one of the things about knowing lots of people--or living for more than 40 years--is that you will eventually find yourself reading the obits and recognizing names.

A couple of weeks ago, the brother of a dear friend died of a particularly virulent form of cancer behind his eye. It was an ugly way to go, but blessedly quick, especially for the family. I knew Sheri's brother, like I knew her, through church. Unfortunately, he was a nutjob; more clinically, he had several DSM-IV problems, not the least of which were Narcissistic Personality and Delusions (of grandeur). His favorite subject was how persecuted he church, by his (ex-)wife, by whoever/whatever/whenever.... He was the second-best teacher I ever had in the mechanics and process of Dealing with Difficult People. I developed a very hard shell in some areas, thanks to him. [First-best teacher? My former boss, who was Depressive with Suicidal Tendencies, and a creep.]

While I didn't like the guy--hah! far from it!--I feel for Sheri and her family. What a horrible thing to deal with.

Last week, while driving home from work one afternoon, a name popped into my head from 10-plus years ago: J!m Glynn. Just saying his name brings his voice to mind. He had one of those baritone voices that would melt anything it touched, including spines and phone wires. He was a patron at a former place of employment, and a radio DJ. He was a neat guy, very cool (in the 50s sense of the word as well as the more current meaning), the kind of guy that really listened to whatever twaddle you were spouting (it was hard not to talk twaddle around him--he was that melty!). So, I'm driving home wondering whatever happened to J!m...

...thanks to the Internet, I discovered that he died last fall. Which hit me hard enough to knock me back in my chair when I saw the headline. The picture with the article looks like him, but I remember him 14 years younger with dark hair: gorgeous.

[And this song came on just as I reached this point (Los Lonely Boys, "Heaven"):

I've been locked up way too long
In this crazy world
How far is heaven?
I just keep on prayin', Lord
I just keep on livin'
How far is heaven?

'Cause I know there's a better place
In this place I'm livin'
How far is heaven?
So I just got to show some faith
And just keep on givin'
How far is heaven?


And then there is the packet I found in my grandmother's belongings containing all the memorabilia from my dad's sister, who died of scarlet fever (I think?) when she was 6. Inside was every photo of her that my grandparents had--five or six--plus her first grade report card, filled in through January 1916.

I don't know any of these people well enough to be affected by their deaths directly, but somehow the confluence is upsetting.

A fitting song has just popped up here too (New Radicals, "You Get What You Give"):

Don't let go
We feel the music in you
Fly high
What's real can't die
You only get what you give

10 minutes later: Beast called just after I saved this post. Parker, a boy whose family has been members of our church off and on, died Sunday. He has been slowly wasting away for all 8 years of his life; in fact, he wasn't 'supposed' to live past age 3 {er, make that 5*}.

Sometimes life just bites. What did
Molly say: "The truth is that the good guys do not win very often. The whale sinks the ship and drowns all the people, and the sea folds over the whole thing as if nothing had happened."

And sometimes it's frankly impossible to be philosophical about all of this.

{*edited by siteowner 8/25}

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