Thursday, July 26, 2012

That Which We Shall Carry Always

By the time I had graduated from the 8th grade I had buried too many people to count.  All four of my grandparents.  Two of my mom's siblings - her brother John and her sister Ann.  And of course, my father.   You run out of tears to cry after a while.  You think you do anyway.  You think you do until something happens that reminds you just how many more you have in the reservoir.

If the world was perfect, then children would not die.  If the world was perfect and there really was some sort of celestial overlord keeping score of what goes on down here on Earth, then a child's outlook on his life would never be so bleak that he would not only contemplate ending it himself but he would in fact do so.  We do not need recent events in Aurora, Colorado to remind us that the world in which we live is an imperfect one.   I need only to look at a picture that my sister Jill took of a group of five of us in the Link Building on Plainfield Avenue immediately following our 7th grade graduation in June 1980 to remind me of that very thing.



Earlier this week marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of the saddest funeral I have ever attended.  My friend Brian Clare was just a kid when on a July day in what should have been nothing more or less than the summer between his senior year in high school and his freshman year of college he took his own life.  All these years later the "Whys" and "Wherefores" of what happened have ceased to be important....presuming they ever were at all.  The loss remains.  Nothing else matters.

When we were 7th graders at W-H Brian gave me - in confidence - counsel on an issue that turned out to be absolutely pitch-perfect.  Sadly for him he had more than a modicum of experience in dealing with that every same issue.  At the ripe old age of thirteen, he was dispensing the wisdom not of a peachfuzzy boy but of a grizzled old veteran.  I have never forgotten that which he told me.  I do not think I ever shall.  And because it was given in confidence by him to me, I have never shared it with anyone else.  I know that I never shall. 

If the world was perfect, then a teenage boy would not think that the best thing he could do to improve his lot in life would be to kill himself.  Tragically, twenty-seven years ago that was precisely what Brian thought.  Almost three decades later, the loss remains.  Nothing else matters. 

-AK

THERE COMES A TIME IN EVERY MAN’S LIFE
WHEN HE HAS TO MAKE A CHOICE
SHOULD HE TURN AND RUN OR STAND AND FIGHT,
IT ALL DEPENDS ON THAT LITTLE VOICE.

THE VOICE THAT LIVES INSIDE HIS HEAD
 AND LEAVES HIM FREE TO TRY,
WILL TELL HIM IF HE SHOULD STAY AND FIGHT
OR LAY HIMSELF DOWN AND DIE.

CARRY ON MY FRIENDS CARRY ON
BECAUSE LIFE WAS MEANT TO LIVE
CARRY ON MY FRIENDS PLEASE CARRY ON
HE GAVE ALL HE HAD TO GIVE

SOMETIMES ONE NIGHT CAN LAST FOREVER
IT’S LIKE THERE’LL NEVER BE A DAWN.
IT’S TIME LIKE THIS WHEN WE MUST STICK TOGETHER
WE MUST CARRY ON.

CARRY ON MY FRIENDS CARRY ON
BECAUSE LIFE WAS MEANT TO LIVE
CARRY ON MY FRIENDS PLEASE CARRY ON
HE GAVE ALL HE HAD TO GIVE

THERE ARE NO MORE WORDS TO WRITE
THE HERO IS NOW GONE
WE GOTTA PULL TOGETHER, STAND AND FIGHT
AND WE MUST CARRY ON.

CARRY ON MY FRIENDS CARRY ON
BECAUSE LIFE WAS MEANT TO LIVE
CARRY ON MY FRIENDS PLEASE CARRY ON
HE GAVE ALL HE HAD TO GIVE

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