This past week was the artist Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday and in his post, I included an early painting of his called “Smoking Skull.” In my head, I call it ‘Van Gogh’s Death’ and I am not surprised that my favorite painting by the “Sunflowers” artist is a skull.
I think about death a lot. Death and loss. Multiple times a day. It’s not always about being sad and feeling the loss. A lot of times, it is an exercise for me to remember the friends I have lost, what made them my friends, and to keep those lessons alive inside me.
Other times, I am paralyzed by the thought of death. Not as much for myself, but just the concept of how time erases people. I am sure that is a strong influence on why I have formatted this website the way I have, focusing almost solely on people who have died. I am trying to not forget them, to remember how their lives have influenced me, and to hopefully pass on a little of their inspiration to others.
Mostly, I remember how the friends that have died made me feel and I try to be that person for someone else. A friend died recently, he was only 35. And while I have a numb emptiness about it, I also am remembering things about him that maybe I didn’t fully realize until after his death. He always made me feel like he was happy to see me which made me feel special. I don’t think I understood exactly how valuable it was. I am trying to find ways to make people feel like he made me feel. He changed my life.
His birthday is on Wednesday and it is going to be hard for a mutual friend of ours. Really hard. I want to keep him inside a hug all day. All I can actually do is remind him hourly that I love him, that he makes my life better, and that I am a better person because of him. Is it strange that I am more worried about someone else than myself? I can try to rationalize it by stating that this is his first friend to die and it’s at least my sixth? But really, it’s because we are so alike, we are so similar, that I know what he is feeling because I am feeling it too. We over-think, we are extra-sensitive, and we do not allow others to know any of that.
I think of death a lot, but it always isn’t terrible, sometimes its just honoring the brothers I have lost, keeping them close, and pushing forward. They would expect me to.