The days slide by
Should have done,
Should have done, we all sigh
Warren Zevon- Accidentally Like a Martyr
Some close friends of mine are sitting deathwatch over a stricken friend. He was brought down by a stroke when he had barely crossed into the vestibule of middle age. The mind skitters across the whole emotional spectrum in seconds upon hearing such news if one is of a certain age, that age being "too young to die", but old enough that it is all too possible as we have just been reminded once again. The wake up call to our own mortality is like being slapped in the face with a carp fresh from the refrigerator if it is a friend of long standing.
So it is that I feel for my friends tonight. The slow, terrible waning of hope as it is replaced with glum resignation, the gallows humor lest we shed a tear that once shed opens the flood gate, I remember that place. It is walled up on the deepest corner of my memory in a place I seldom visit save on nights like tonight.
In a few days these good people will, unless the truly miraculous occurs, begin to compose eulogies and testimonials. It is of these that I would speak to you, my gentle readers. Eulogies are too often filled with all the kind words and praise that we have waited a little too long to say to the living. That is why they are delivered with tears. If it is considered bad form in our society to speak ill of the dead it is equally certain that we are taught to be embarrassed to display affection for our fellow man while he yet lives--especially if we are male.
One of my favorite scraps of poetry is from W. H. Auden:
We must honor while we can
The vertical man
Though we value none
But the horizontal one.
The wheel of the year is about to turn again. In a few weeks the slow rebirth of the land will begin as the sun begins its return. Take a few minutes and tell someone, some friend or relation, how much they mean to you. They may already know, but it is still good to hear and maybe it will warm them against the cold night when their need is great.
You may find that it warms you as well.
Be seeing you