Sunday, April 11, 2010

Death ... and Life

I have been fortunate in my 50+ years that I have not suffered the loss of anyone especially close to me. Yes, I experienced the loss of both of my grandmothers, each of whom I spent time with as a child, and I also lost a very dear aunt a number of years ago. But in terms of my wife, children, parents or siblings, all are alive and kicking.

Still, the recent deaths of my store manager of 10 years and the brother of my very special life long friend has brought the subject of death to the fore of my consciousness. Not so much in wondering is there life after death, or the whole heaven and hell debate, but in conjunction with the "death" 3 months ago of my job. It was that ending that inspired me to stop pretending that I would write someday, stop composing opinion letters, stories, essays in my head only, and to actually do it.

So I started writing letters to the Philadelphia Inquirer and to my local newspaper. I started work on 2 short stories which I had been writing in my head for the last 6 months. And I started a blog about the ups and downs of losing ones job, how if effects you and your family mentally as well as economically.

After one of my letters was published in the Inquirer, I was surprised to receive 5 responses from strangers and have maintained communication with two of those people in the interim. After two of my letters were published in the local paper, I made the bold move (certainly bold for me) of contacting the editor directly to thank her for publishing me and I even asked her to consider giving me a weekly column. That contact resulted in my blog, this blog, being directly linked to the paper's website so that my thought could be accessible to the public at large.

Which brings us to life. In my case, life must include writing. It is a part of who I am. Whether I am good at it or not, whether I ever get paid to write, whether people agree with or even enjoy what I write is not the issue. That I write is what is important. Perhaps for you it is music or painting, sculpture or dance. Maybe you just like to build things, useful or not. Or maybe you love languages or you enjoy spending time in your garden. Regardless of the pursuit, without consideration if it is practical or logical, don't wait for a death to remind you of its importance to you, or worse, realize only in death what was important in your life. Who knows, perhaps that is hell. Spending eternity wishing you had found the time engaged in the activity that enriches you.

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