Sunday, January 28, 2018


Sunday reflection: On mortality

It's been a year with some death in it for me and many people I know, just 27 days in. It's an odd thing, isn't it? That this ends. Some people I know are comfortable with that, others not at all. I am more on the comfortable side.

Even for those of us who believe there is a plane of being other than this world, it is striking to think of this corporeal existence coming to a close. I know that so many who have died changed me in some way. I am different because of them.

That is hidden, closed off, inside my head (except when I talk about my heroes), but there is a string that goes forward from that life, one person to another, a butterfly's wings across ages. My father or grandfather taught me--when he didn't know he was teaching me--how to talk to a stranger and maybe one day that mattered, and changed a bit of that person's day, and there is a tiny difference in that person, and a ripple in what we all are over time. That person you lost, did they matter? Of course; they changed everything.

In Detroit, there were people who built cars. They engineered a chassis or designed a rear fin or attached a rear quarter-panel or welded a B-pillar. There is a kind of immortality in that, I often thought; as long as that car was around, somewhere, that person was in it, a part of that story and all that came from it: the people who drove it and where they went and what they did when they got there.

Death as an end? Only if your eyes are closed now.

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