On the occasion of Johnny Cash’s birthday, my mother’s favorite singer, I was flipping through the latest magazine from my high school. I was touched by the photographs of the beautiful students so engaged in life, starting out, full of joy.
Toward the back, there was an “In Memoriam” section. There was a name I recognized but couldn’t quite recall. I didn’t know him, though I could have. Even the smallest groups break into clusters based on ridiculous things, the superficial things that separate. They feel so real at the time. Mindless certainties.
There was just one line written, the fact that he was dead and the time of his death. I googled, and a man came into vague focus, but that one line was most powerful. The simple, stark statement announcing his departure against a backdrop of all those young faces, their chubby smiles and lovely awkward bodies.
I think this evening of Bart, of my mom and father and brother, of friends already gone, of your family members and friends. I think of me and you. I think that life is a constant declaration, whereas death is a simple fact.