When I was growing up, there was a few years that I royally failed my parents as a student. I was distracted trying to be cooler than necessary. I had no appetite to spend hours learning science and math. My mother was gently worrying about me. Her fear had to do with the thought that I’d drop out of school to pursue a soccer career.
As an interim solution my mother, who is considerate and kind to the bone, decided to force herself to reading things in front of me -to encourage me to do the same. My mother was actually young during those years, in her thirties to be precise. Her reading material didn’t trigger any interest in me though. She had this never-ending fascination about obituaries. She loved reading obituaries. The smart-ass punk that I was, I was certain she actually forced herself to reading the morose texts to teach me a lesson.
But she had other reasons, I learned. She believed when you get to know people by the details of their passing, you could always look back at their lives and see what they learned. What they left behind. What they took from others. My mother even had her own secret code to extract all of the facts: the position of the obituary within the page layout, the length and form of the text, the poems, and so on.
Death stands tall as a mysterious concept. It seems to be the end of one thing, but you can easily see it as the beginning of another thing, even if the new thing is just a nothing. I’ve always been fascinated about knowing what goes on in one’s mind when s/he seems to get close to the end of the road. What are the hopes, if any. What are the unfulfilled dreams, if any. What are the regrets. When one is close to the end of this life-like dream, it’s all doomed to seem very short. It has to seem so meaningless, yet so meaningful –depending on how you got there.
My old friend, Rich, decided to generously share the journey. He decided to express how he felt in each step of the way. He taught his friends to be at peace about it. He taught his friends to stand up and deal with it, when there is heat around the corner.
I’m amazed by his brave action. Rich went out in style. And man, is that not something you’d want to see in an obituary.
In memory of Rich Goade…