Gut Rumbles
 

February 23, 2005

death

I'm not afraid of dying. In fact, as sickly as I've been lately I might have considered a sudden heart attack in my sleep a fucking blessing. Life is difficult to live sometimes.

I don't claim to know what it all means. People have been dying for centuries and they'll keep on doing it. It's "Earth's diurnal course." It's the way things go.

Very few of us (if ANY) will be remembered in history books or have a statue of our likeness carved in the Town Square. We'll live, we'll die and the world will pretty much forget about us--- in The Big Picture, anyway.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this subject lately.

Even when you're gone, family keeps you alive. LOVE keeps you alive. In my living room, I have a picture of my father's father. I never knew the man, because he died when my daddy was 12 years-old. But I often ponder that picture and wonder what he must have been like. I haven't forgotten him, even though I never met him.

When you die surrounded by family, you don't really die. Your immortality is standing all around you. No, you won't make the history books and nobody is going to carve your statue in the town square. But that doesn't matter.

A long time from now, a little boy or a little girl will ponder a picture of an ancestor, pretty much unknown and forgotten. But that child WILL KNOW who it was, and I hope that they do like I did. Ponder that picture. Wonder what that person must have been like. Never forget them.

If you do that, they never die.


Comments

How "bout your grandfather's father? No pictures, no memories, so much for immortality.

THE most interesting book I ever read about what it's like on the other side is "Return from Tomorrow" by Dr. George Richie.

I recommend it

Posted by: Jim Long on February 23, 2005 09:46 PM

How "bout your grandfather's father? No pictures, no memories, so much for immortality.

Well, my four-times-great grandfather still lives because I know about some of the things he did in Maysville, Ky., in the mid-1830s.

My six-times-great grandfather still lives because I know he was a signatory to an important Revolutionary-era document in Virginia.

My nine-times-great grandfather still lives because I have seen documentation of him in English copies of Virginia colonial records (the Virginia originals/copies were lost over the years).

I have no photographs going back past my great-great grandfather, but I don't need to see faces to know the ones that came before him.

Posted by: McGehee on February 23, 2005 11:36 PM

In three tiny little picture frames that are corroded I have pictures of my grandmother, great aunt, great grandmother and my grandmother when she was a tot. She died in 1969. The pictures are almost daguerrotypes they are so sepia and stained.
I barely remember my great aunt or great grandma. They all were Norwegian, in fact, my great grandfather supposedly jumped ship in the Great Lakes and settled in Northern Wisconsin way, way back when.

As I age, and as I go through things like cancer, which bring you to the edge of the looking glass and open up all those fascinating possibilities, I wish I had paid more attention to the little mementoes of lives I only heard of and didn't participate in completely.

Your last paragraph made me cry. I don't even have pics of my dad or mom from when I was growing up.

Posted by: Kim on February 23, 2005 11:54 PM

Each of us has a history. Some go back to the founding of this nation, while others in only a generation or two previous find their forefathers, European merchants, or farmers, or even Russian cossacks.

One of the few things I have done right by my kids is to give them a sense of their own personal history. To know not only where their parents, grand parents, great grandparents came from (and assorted Aunts and Uncles). But also give them the stories ...

Great grandma really did believe in the vampire, for that was the part of the world she came from and part of her life that traveled across the ocean with her to this country. Yes, you had gamblers as well as priests in your family tree...Soldiers, Sailors...Captains and Cossacks.

It gives the next generation not only a sense of family history, but quite possibly a greater awareness of who and what they are.

It is my sincerest hope, you are able to share this same thing with your son and daughter. And they gain a better understanding of not only their father but of themselves as well..

Posted by: Guy S. on February 24, 2005 10:24 AM
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