Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Transitions...

Births, graduations, weddings, funerals.

These are some of the major milestone-type events that have the magical ability to reach into the past and pull together unbelievably diverse groups of people who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to get together. They mark transitions, both happy and sad, and give us the opportunity to checkpoint our own lives and catch up with those with whom we may have lost touch.

I attended a funeral for a former colleague earlier today. It was, as expected, a very sad event that gave the rest of us pause. I’m sure everyone who attended took time to contemplate who they are and why they’ve been put on this planet. I hope they came away from this tragedy with a greater appreciation for their impact on the people and the world around them.

I wish I had the power to ease the pain of loss. But I don’t. All I do is drop words on a page. Hardly the stuff of which comfort is born.

Yet the gentleman who passed away was, along with his wife, instrumental in my deciding to pursue a career as a writer. His wife, who I was lucky enough to work with, helped me see that writing could be more than just a fun hobby. She encouraged me to believe in my talent, to seek my dream and go for broke. He, on the other hand, was one of the few now-former colleagues who didn’t call me nuts when I announced my decision to become a full-time writer. He told me to do what made me happy.

He had a way of leaning back in his chair before sharing his wisdom with whoever came into his office. Whereas most folks with 30+ years experience would pontificate and expect you to bow at their feet, he was much more self-effacing, and preferred to allow others to bask in the glow of success. He was just as happy to stay late and do the work when no one else was around. Then he’d head off for a round of golf or a game of hockey.

He understood what life meant, and how to effectively balance work and home. It’s a lesson I hope the standing room only crowd took home with them after they said goodbye to a treasured friend.

4 comments:

Danya said...

The lesson was definately not lost here, Carmi! He was a happy, funny guy who was one of the cooler people that I've known during my time here. The manner in which he spoke always brought to mind John Wayne's drawl. I'll miss that...

Diva said...

"Hardly the stuff of which comfort is born."
About this, Carmi, you are wrong. Words can be very comforting, for both the writer and the reader.

Wheelson said...

"Yet the gentleman who passed away was, along with his wife, instrumental in my deciding to pursue a career as a writer," means that they live on through you. If you weren't a writer, all the people that you influence would be difference and the world would be different. This world is what it is because of their place in it. They have not left this world; they just exist in a different form.

I wish you well as you morn the passing of their physical presence.

They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.

- William Penn

Carmi said...

Thanks to you all. Your words have helped immensely.

Diva: you're right about the power of words. I was being my usual self-deprecating self. I sometimes don't fully appreciate how profound a writer's impact can be on the lives of others. But then there's always someone around to remind me. And then I pick up my pen and aim for the fences again.