Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What if Steve died?

Obituary in Sacramento Bee 3/8/06: Stephen (Name with-held for indentity security), 32, Sacramento. Survived by his darling wife, (name starts with K) and his unborn child, his Parents, two Brothers, two Nieces and two Nephews. Stephen graduated from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA and still up until his death had his trademark Birkenstocks and Doc Martens in his closet. Stephen worked for almost 9 years for a large Fortune 500 company where he was a top employee. He loved playing guitar, writing on his blog, racing his Porsche, working on his house, his 4 cats Abbey, Jack, Daisy and Flea and dog Trisha, his iPod, his Apple computer, Fantasy Sports leagues, three card poker, and being a royal pain in the ass. Stephen played football in high school for one year where he sat on the end of the bench, guarded the water bottle and tackled anyone who came near it. He played on all the return and kick off teams as well. Stephen was the lead guitarist for now defunct Sacramento jam band, Perception. They had no albums and played about three gigs, one of which was paid. He saw u2 five times, was verbally assaulted by Gwen Stefani and was once carried on the shoulders of Shaquille O'Neal. He worked at the Macy's on Santa Monica's famed 3rd Street Promenade. He was a die hard Republican and a big fan of TV's Law and Order. He had at least four concussions, one pretty serious. He didn't smoke or do drugs but he's drank more than his fairshare of Guinness, Jameson and Knob Creek. Known for coining the phrase, "Let's blow this hotdog stand" when leaving a room. His dream was to play guitar with Mike Ness from Social Distortion.

As weird as it sounds, it felt good to sit down and write my own obituary today.

Death has the ultimate lasting effect and everyone will face this challenge, sometime soon or sometime within the next 40, 50 even 60 years. I mean, face it, it's unavoidable even if you are well to do or even live a lifetime full of luck. The oldest anyone can live is probably 125 years and your chances of that are probably 1 in 5 billion! Well that's probably a guess but there are only two people alive over 118 right now!

I didn't sleep last night. I couldn't shut it down. I couldn't relax. I even listened to some Ben Folds Five on low volume because that will put you to sleep. It didn't so I went downstairs, popped an amitriptyline, laid on the couch and watched TV. I was all up and worried about death, not the death of anyone else but my mortality. We've had some troubling news this past weekend regarding mortality and short lives. We had the stroke and then death of Minnesota Twins great, Kirby Puckett age 45, followed by the death of Dana Reeve, age 45, from Lung Cancer. I'll tell you what, these deaths scare the living shit out of me. 45!! That's like 13 years from now for me. 45? That's not old at all! I am a just 32. Strokes, cancer... that only happens to old people right? Apparently not so. It can happen to me as well. It can happen to you! Now, today. Dead. Gone! It's over man...

The event of your death is probably pretty peaceful. Even if agonizingly slow, when the end comes, it's probably like a flick of a light switch. Whether it goes completely black or turns into heaven, you'll never really know unless it's actually, well... heaven! Or perhaps, hell. But this isn't totally what freaks me out. It's the ancillary effects surrounding your death. Things attached to your life, what you saw, what you did and how you left it are ultimately what counts the most. The people you know who's lives you care for and support. Right? You read about Dana Reeve and Kirby Puckett and see the endless reruns through out the night regarding Dana's life on CNN. They wheel out all these great people like Lance Armstrong and Deepak Chopra to talk the "spirtuality of cancer" and what a great person Dana was with her unselfish devotion to her husband and the spinal cord damage research charity they formed. You watch ESPN and saw what just a genuinely unselfish athlete like Kirby Puckett was like and all these people who admire him and his accomplishments. And this is where I stumble the most with the issue of death: What will they say about me? Will my obituary be what it I want it to be? Who will I leave behind? What will I have accomplished? Did I lead a good life, whatever that is? It's a scary thought process to contemplate. Death... YOU!! Ahhhh!!!!!

Well, I decided today to write this post and bring this issue forward to my keyboard to get it out of my system, and just move on. Blogging is therapy. You say your piece and move on. After last night and the recent short lives of Kirby Puckett and Dana Reeve, I just looked at everyone, especially the older people I saw today, with a bit of admiration and happiness. We all need to stop and smell the roses once in while. Life is way too short!

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