So let's talk about something other than me trying to blow my head off for a bit, shall we?
I am about to turn 51. Typically, at this point in life, one begins to look in the mirror and assess what has transpired the past 50 years. I have a beautiful wife and wonderful kids. I have done well for myself and have many nice toys. But its fair to say that no one will be erecting libraries in my honor after I am gone.
I often think about my grandfather that I barely knew. He fought in WWI and lost half of his face in Belgium. He laid on the battlefield for three days before he crawled off, over the bodies of his buddies. He then walked a few dozen miles to find help. He was then flown back to the states where he spent a year at a hospital in Baltimore before being sent back home in the midwest. To say he was a badass would be an understatement.
I have very hazy memories of him. I think I was 4 years old when he died. As I got older, I learned more about the hard life he experienced when he got home. What we now know as PTSD that many soldiers deal with, he was branded as "shellshocked". And back then, it was not well understood or accepted. I had such admiration for this man that I barely knew. And while I share his story with my children, they do not have the same connection to him. I suspect that when I am gone, he will be nothing more than a few faded photos hidden in albums. But almost 50 years later, I still think of him.
I have a morbid fascination with cemeteries. Always have. Let's be clear, I did not spend my teenage years dressed as a goth, spending my free time in them. No, I just enjoyed the quiet, Anyway, whenever I pass by one, I cannot help but consider all of the lives that each stone represents. That stone represents someone's father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, etc. Some stones are massive and others are more modest. There are untold stories beneath each one, that will never be told. It's kind of like when you look at a photo filled with people who were living full and possibly exciting lives. And now, they are nothing more than a small card with their image.
I am beginning to realize that my greatest fear is for my life to pass unnoticed. I did not fight in the Great War. I did not invent anything. My name will never appear on the big screen. And for the most part, I am ok with that. Raising three girls to be strong, independent women who value themselves is quite an accomplishment. The fact that none of them are swinging from a pole is a win for me. Sure, there will be plenty of therapy sessions that will focus on the impact of my poor decisions but who doesn't have those sessions with their therapists?
I am not sure how to reconcile this one, other than to acknowledge that someday I will be just an image in a year book and a name inscribed on a stone. Yeah, I know; I am caring too much about something that is completely out of my control and giving this way too much thought. But this is my show, I write it.
Anyway, not sure what my point is for this post. Perhaps its to document what I have been thinking lately. I hope that in a year or two I will re-read this and say how fucking dumb this is because none of it matters. But today, it matters.