Saturday, November 1, 2014

Red Lines

     Gary sits like a Buddha in his Scottish black rain cape, smiling.  The red rope of cancer, the event that pillows his demise, the last slash on his life's timeline.  He died smiling, a "good death" as his doctor described it.  He was surrounded by his children, his grandchildren, his wives and his best friend.  As a younger man he thought that he might live until he was about thirty.  A child of the hippie generation, drug use was the way to be cool.  He forever regretted that he did not go to college, become a history teacher and make a significant contribution to society.  He was surprised to have lived until he was sixty.  His big heart was his legacy woven into each line on the timelines of his family members.

     Bekah, Gary's daughter, had a birthday yesterday.  As with all of those who loved Gary, his death made a slash of red across her life's timeline.  His passing caused lines of grief and knots of regret, and yet it also spurred everyone, like Bekah, to remember to love deeper and make her life more worthwhile.  Red-haired Bekah has since had a wonderful child.  Her remembrance of Gary making her passionate about raising her son, John, and making sure that he will be proud of her.

    I have always loved black. As a child in kindergarten my teachers questioned why I always painted in black.  They thought that I may have been depressed, because my mother had died when I was young.  On my life's timeline, my mother's passing is marked in red, not black.   Red just seems so appropriate for cancer, for death, for tragedies.  Yet, red carries an element of cheerfulness.  When I watch Bekah strive hard to do well because of Gary's passing, I see the cheerful aspect of tragedy.  My mother's passing surely shaped my life in odd ways, both good and bad.   The power of any single red slash on one's timeline diminishes as it is joined by a progressive markings.  Gary's passing was a determining factor in how my life will progress.  It could not be otherwise.

  That smiling Buddha pose of Gary's, drawn from somewhere in my heart, promises black slashes on my timeline.  I feel like he watches over me and has left me free to add slashes in colors of my choice.  Black, especially black.    


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