Requiem for a Blogger
How is it possible to cry for a man you only met through the blog post he asked to be published in the event of his death?
I’m dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in my life.
Since then, in those spare moments between my tasks here in the real world, I’ve been reading that final post over and over as well as the comments, following links to and from others who knew him — or didn’t and simply wanted to honor a good man, a good soldier, a good husband, son, and brother. I’ve cried over my keyboard at almost regular intervals.
“The flame also reminds us that life is precious. As each flame is unique; when it goes out, it’s gone forever. There will never be another quite like it.”
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5
I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there’s at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world. But on a larger scale, for those who knew me well enough to be saddened by my death, especially for those who haven’t known anyone else lost to this war, perhaps my death can serve as a small reminder of the costs of war. Regardless of the merits of this war, or of any war, I think that many of us in America have forgotten that war means death and suffering in wholesale lots. A decision that for most of us in America was academic, whether or not to go to war in Iraq, had very real consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Yet I was as guilty as anyone of minimizing those very real consequences in lieu of a cold discussion of theoretical merits of war and peace. Now I’m facing some very real consequences of that decision; who says life doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Such a bright light is gone, and the world is certainly a darker place.
There are no words to express the sorrow I feel for his family. May there be some peace and comfort in the thousands of blog posts honoring his memory and from the loving words of those who knew him in this ephemeral space we call the blogosphere.
Ave atque vale, Major Olmsted. May you rest in peace.
Walk Within You
If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not blacken long your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The steady layering of intimacy stored,
The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
Each giving and each taking,
These are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand
And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand.
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A conjoined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the woods where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Clear your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.
~ Nicholas Evans
From “The Smokejumper”
No comments yet.