Looking The Same Way

My life is a bit of turmoil right now – I’m on the Board for the residential community I live in, there’s a lot of disagreement on the Board hidden behind decreasingly polite words, the Property Manager is working from home with Covid-19 (another close personal friend) which has lead to new contractors in the office with a steep learning curve, and if I have time for myself it’s to forget about all of that in my own ways. So I didn’t get as much time to process it; this is late in writing.

A very close friend of mine passed away a few days ago, in the midst of what can be best described as chaos. His daughter called me, told me he was her daughter – I knew that – and she sobbed for a few minutes. No words needed to be said, I knew. He had been ill for a while, and because of the pandemic I was leery to visit because the last thing I wanted to do was put him at greater risk. I waited, she said it, a hurdle everyone must eventually jump over.

The family asked I not post about it as word gets out, and of course I won’t.

And so this morning I looked quietly through photos to find I had none with him – a man who I have spent so much time with, working hard, enjoying the moments of tranquility between. I came to realize that I had one photo of him that is below; a photo that describes our relationship quite well: We were always looking the same way, the same direction, and seeing the same and different things at the same time.

With the current pandemic, I cannot go to the house and be with the family to tell them some stories, and if there was someone to talk to about it he would be the first on my list to talk to.

This, I am no stranger to, but every time a piece of me withers. An adopted Great Uncle, who died a centenarian, told me quietly once when he was in his 9th decade that he was ready to go because all who he had known in his time had died, and all that was left were people who cannot understand. I am beginning to.

Veterans get the sort of brotherhood he and I had – he and I had been through our own version of ‘The Suck’, and had persevered where my own family would not assist, did not believe, and astonishingly probably still don’t despite what we accomplished. He was a man of integrity, of honor, and someone who I had the distinct pleasure of knowing. He was proud of his family, their accomplishments, but he never took them as his own. He was knowledgeable, thoughtful, and wanted the best for everyone he knew.

Often, people do not realize that when people die and stories are told, it says more about the teller. It is the way of things; but every reflection in those stories also casts a penetrating light on the one that has left, their effect, their legacy.

Would that we all could leave a legacy this man did.

Inertia

Some days weigh more than others. After a week that has weighed on me quite a lot, and probably will continue to for a while, the idea of weight and how we use it really captured my imagination. I’ve incorporated it into my ongoing writing project, but I thought it was worth mentioning since yesterday was World Mental Health Day and today is not.

We call it weight maybe because of the tension we feel in our muscles. It’s easy to communicate that way, we can all recognize that feeling. Some might call it stress. Others might call it in extreme cases a form of depression. These are, I suppose, specialized types of weight with their own nomenclature, and I’ll leave that for others to write about – quite enough exists on those topics, and they certainly don’t need another layperson messing things up on the Internet.

What causes this weight? I have a few ideas. When we talk about weight, in the sense of Physics, we’re really talking about mass and the acceleration due to gravity, multiplied by each other. Acceleration due to gravity, you may be surprised, varies a bit around the world, but it’s got an average we work with for the entire planet.

As with people. The metaphorical acceleration due to gravity varies from person to person – one could even argue that there’s a standard deviation that we call ‘normal’. Metaphorical mass is generally what changes in our lives. But is it really weight? Is that such a good metaphor?

When you have multiple things happening at the same time, it’s not as hard, it’s not as heavy. Things move along. But the second one thing goes sideways, the day can become a bit more heavy because of it. This sounds a little more like inertia. When you’re trying to do too much, when something goes wrong and you get a cascade of problems…

And how do we deal with this stuff anyway? Maybe we reduce what we’re doing and focus on less.

Nonetheless, there are some days when the world weighs more than others.