Monday, January 23, 2017

Candle. Flicker. Out.

Life is so brief. So painfully brief. The image that keeps going through my head is my finger and thumb snuffing out the scented candles in my house. Just like that. That small. That gentle. That violent, depending on your perspective.

If you look at the time etched in the walls of the Grand Canyon, time seems immense and humanity small. Particularly our own.

If I look at my six-year-old daughter's cheeks, hers seems all the more brief than my own. And so much more fragile. So breakable. I think this thought and snuff it out as quickly as if touching a flame.

As quickly as death. Death. It can just sweep in and wipe out a life. Just like that.

I've written about my friends' deaths before. Oftentimes I don't publish because it feels selfish. It's not my death. Not my lover. Not my brother, sister, love. But each time a friend dies I'm taken aback by the briskness of the thing. Death shouldn't come so easily to those so young.

Another candle was snuffed out yesterday. Too soon. Too soon. I feel my heart beat the rhythm of too soon.

I don't feel right daring to write about it here. It's not my death. Not my husband, brother, son. A friend. A writer. A man.

And now he's gone.

The cancelled coffee date hangs in the air.

The words I wrote in the margins of his manuscript hang there too. Did he even read them? Was he well enough? He emailed to apologize for missing his deadline. I'd been coaching him off and on for the past year and a half or so. The deadlines were his to miss. Not mine.

He apologized in the midst of battling cancer. He apologized in the midst of racing to finish his manuscript. He apologized in the midst of racing to live as much life as he had left. Three months? Six months? A year?

A week and a half.

Cut short.

Too soon.

Just like that.

It leaves me as breathless as if I'd blown the candle out myself.


  1. There's nothing wrong with writing about a lost friend. Your blog, your rules.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    1. Thanks, Mr. Bluzdude. That's a good reminder.

  2. Oh my. A week and a half? That takes MY breath away, and I'm well removed from the situation. I believe it's fair to write about your response to his death; you have not invaded his privacy. And you have reminded us of something enormous. Thank you, and I'm sorry.

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  4. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing and sharing.
    Many, if not most, of us share with you the loss and wonder,
    will we ever reach a time when life is no longer ended by
    disease or worn out body parts? Perhaps, in the words of
    Robert Burns, that time will come when
    "Man's inhumanity to man" is history not current events.

  5. Wow, how serendipitous....I too just lost a dear friend yesterday from cancer...also way too soon. I feel your feelings.....thanks for sharing this in my soothes me a bit.

  6. This is so beautiful and so sad. I'm sorry for your loss.