The strange proximity of death

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 10:43 PM | comments: 0

The last couple of weeks have been a little strange. Last week we got email from someone who indicated that their brother was critically ill, and that he wanted to leave $500 for PointBuzz. Naturally, we suggested that the money instead be donated to GKTW. Then, all of a sudden a number of people were posting "R.I.P." on a college classmate's page. I played volleyball with him and put him in one of my TV shows. He died apparently of a stroke or severe seizure. A new friend of mine nearly lost his father in a car accident.

While we live our lives, the proximity of death seems so random.

Certainly we see people die, or nearly die, every day in a world full of violence, natural forces, and of course old age. We don't always notice it, because it's usually not happening close to us. So when these events happen in quantity, and closer to you than normal, naturally you can't help but take notice a little. Maybe it's fortunate that the sadness gets close to us without being too close, because it helps offer a little perspective.

My best friend reminded me of that awful day, more than a decade ago now, at a coaster enthusiast event when a woman, allegedly doing something stupid, was tossed from a ride and fell to her death. A lot of folks congregated in the nearby campground, and it was not a happy scene, as you might expect. Everyone deals with tragedy in different ways, and maybe mine made people uncomfortable. I cracked open a beer, sat by the fire, and was content to do whatever it took to have a good time.

I think my logic was sound, even if it wasn't appropriate. I told my friends and acquaintances, "Look, something really bad happened, but I can't think of any better reason to appreciate the time we have, on earth, and with each other, because we just don't know how much time we have." At the time, I couldn't imagine spending another moment feeling bad, not knowing how many more moments I really had.

It's so easy to get sucked down into darkness by the shitstorm of negativity that we encounter in our daily lives. It's a good idea to stop now and then and ask yourself if that's really worth your time.


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