It’s been almost a month since I watched the coroner load George into his extended black van and drive away.
Now, I didn’t know George all that well. He was a neighbour to where I rent a basement suite. I’d talked to him a bunch of times, mostly during the summer when he would sit out back on his deck and enjoy an evening drink.
He was a nice guy to me. One time, I was doing some yard work for my landlady while my fiancée suntanned (now that I write that, the scenario feels backwards). I had the tunes on and during a break I spied George on his deck.
“Hey George,” I called out, “don’t be afraid to tell me to turn down the music if it’s too loud.”
“Actually,” he said, as Eminem blared from the speakers, “I was going to compliment you on your choice of music. I like it.”
For a retired guy to dig Eminem, that’s pretty cool.
Anyway, almost a month ago I came home from work, and when I got out of my car I noticed a police officer and Heather, a lady who works for my landlord, walking over to me.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Nobody’s seen George in three days,” she looked concerned. George had just recently returned from a stay in the hospital.
“Maybe he returned to the hospital,” I ventured.
“They’ve already checked, and he hasn’t.”
Hmmm, not good. Heather and I waited and watched for a bit as the police officer followed what I’m guessing is protocol in entering someone’s house. This went on for awhile, and I had to get ready for an evening appointment.
“Keep me posted,” I told Heather.
After showering and eating, I went out to hop into my car when I noticed this ominous looking black van in George’s driveway.
“Shit,” I muttered, and noticed the front door open. The coroner and his partner wheeled George, encased in a grey bag, to the van.
This was the last time I saw George.
Now, I’ve dealt with the deaths of loved ones and not-so-loved ones—no more or less than the average guy. I’ve had the same family, friends, casual acquaintances all move to the next level that you probably have, my fellow zombie. We all know how it feels.
George’s passing, though, felt a little different. Not because of any personal attachment, it just didn’t feel similar to other deaths that I’ve experienced.
At first, I felt sad that George lay dead for three days before being discovered. Being blessed with a close family and friends, as well as being fortunate enough to be adopted into my fiancées family, it’s hard for me to relate to someone not checking on George sooner, especially since he’d just gotten out of the hospital.
That feeling passed, though, and just like with other deaths of people I wasn’t close to, I felt sorrow for the loss of a human life, but that was about it.
All except for one nagging feeling I couldn’t shake. What was it?
See, I’ve always believed that emotions or experiences should never be fled. No matter how sad or joyful, I try to welcome every single one of my emotions or experiences as they are my teachers.
So, come on in and take a load off, confusion. Grab a beer and a chair, sorrow. How YOU doin’, fear? What lesson are you giving me today?
It finally dawned on me today. I did the usual bit of self-reflecting that one does when someone you know passes on. I took stock of myself, realizing that all my petty worries didn’t matter as long as I was on the right side of the ground. I spent more time with my loved ones. I appreciated life a little bit more.
But day by day I reverted back to normal. I started getting upset at the driver who cut me off in traffic. I began to stress about money and bills again. I let the little things eat at me once more.
And that’s what was nagging at me. Maybe, when someone passes on, we’re not just supposed to self-reflect while the sadness is fresh, but I think we’re supposed to self-reflect every single day.
Air in the lungs? Check.
Roof over the head? Check
Food in the cupboard? Check.
Then today is going to be a good day, no matter what transpires.
I think between three of my grandparents, my cousin, and other friends and acquaintances passing, I already knew that deep down, but just never put it into action.
George was the one that pushed it to the surface. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Humanity Man lives on this beautiful yet crazy planet we call Earth. He likes peace, joy, and George. He dislikes war, hate, and lying politicians. Any comments, criticisms, ideas, etc. can be relayed to him through this magazine.