Ruminations on Death

deathI see everything through eyes that look through the experience of death and so everything is a bit colored by it. 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't like it that when I write and am serious, I invariably write of death. I suppose it's been such a central theme of my life that it has become an unspoken agent in much of my thinking. I see everything through eyes that look through the experience of it and so everything is a bit colored by it. It's almost this tacit friend who follows me and has some strange telepathic ability to influence my mind.

It isn't something that makes me more sapient than the next person who hasn't had those experiences. It isn't a trait that makes me more interesting, except maybe to those who have known the people whose deaths I've dealt with. It's just one of those things that makes me who I am.  

I have to think pretty hard to remember that my wife's cousin is the last one I've known personally who has died. It wasn't that long ago, maybe two months. Before him there was Joe in Omaha who shot himself. And Pete who was hit by a car. James Hahn, Jeff Morris, Steve Loring, and my distant cousin Kenny  shot themselves also. I have another cousin named Jared who once stepped in front of a train.  

Those are just the ones who have died violently. 

I remember some of them who I didn't know personally. There was Joey McMahon who killed himself while I was on the phone with him at work. Little Norris Sweet who was three when cancer took him in East Lansing, and whose name I will never forget until my own dying day, although I never knew him or his family. 

I think it's much better to forget them, though. I think it's better to remember the ones who have lived. 

I remember Jerry Galore, my best friend in fourth grade. He had the coolest given name of anyone I've ever known. Brad Marsh was my friend, too, and he's still alive. I found him online a couple years ago and he remembers me although we haven't seen each other since 1984. He said, "Yeah, you tore the shit out of your knee in the woods one day behind your house, right?" I had forgotten about that until he reminded me. | Joseph Watts

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