Death comes, and how — the human story everywhere

With great and troubled sadness, today brings news of the murder of a lunch buddy of mine, Paul, and his wife Julie.

[Caution: if you are the type of person who prefers to not pull into your consciousness stories of deranged behavior, do not click through that link. But if you are the type of person who prefers to stare into the belly of the beast from time to time, because the beast is and should not be ignored, then do click way.]

Paul was a very sweet man, with a big grin captured well in the picture the press is carrying of him today. I didn’t know him well, as over the past ten or fifteen years we would get together for lunch once or twice a year — always a real treat — but what I did know of him I found to be quite admirable: he was smart and gentle and knowledgeable and fun to be around.

Paul, you will be missed! By me, for sure, and lots of others, of this there can be no doubt. You made a difference in people’s lives while you were here. You used your lifetime well.

* * *

Life is exploration. Life is learning. Life is especially learning about ourselves, because everything we see and feel and do we see and feel and do through ourselves.

Yet, in a sweet-misery sort of irony seemingly woven into the fabric of the universe itself, most of us will never know the ultimate set of facts about ourselves — most of us will never know the facts surrounding our demise. Everyone else we leave behind will know, but we will not.

* * *

The facts surrounding Paul’s demise were of the sort that just about no one ever contemplates, and no one should ever have to contemplate.

Presumably, Paul and Julie went to sleep two evenings ago, Monday, January 30th, 2006, just as they always had. But then somewhere between that moment in time and the moment in time that they presumably contemplated awaking to, i.e., a new day on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006, much like any other, an event intervened at 4 a.m. — an event with a human face and a human behavior — that changed everything, for many people, forever and in all ways, irreversibly and irretrievably.

* * *

Life goes on and death cuts it off, as the human story high up in the hills of El Cerrito (surely shrouded deep in fog at this moment in time, what with the entire Bay Area being enshrouded today, February 1st, 2006, with a slow constant drippy rain, and what with it being more foggy way up there in the hills of El Cerrito than just about any other place around here) — is all too much The Human Story Everywhere.

May all of us have sets of facts surrounding our demise that are very much to our liking. And, Paul, my lunch buddy, may you get something somewhere somehow somewhy somewho along the way to make up for the facts surrounding your demise, because you were rooked.

* * *

So, yes, and quite obviously, financial health requires all of us to plan for our demise (if you don’t have your estate planning binder in place, then, please, get it done: it’s easy and it’s not expensive and you’ll feel all the world better when you do) because death comes, though many of us will never know how, and many of us are going to be rooked.

It could even be tomorrow . . .

But, yes also, and far more importantly, remember the simple exhortation a friend offered up to me and my honey during our wedding circle, an exhortation we follow most every day, an exhortation we state out loud to each other while happily complying therewith:

Lots of hugs everyday!

Because life can leave before you know it.

So time’s a wastin’.


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