The Final Page of the Notebook (ms)

It matters not if you are rich, poor, arrogant, overweight or rail thin — death comes along and puts everyone on the same page. The Grim Reaper works under equal opportunity rules. Oh, some of us may get off easier when it comes to the great passing but it all comes down to the old adage, “When you’re gone, you’re gone.” Where you go is a matter for a different discussion.

There are several alternatives, of course, but many of us lie in state at a viewing. We do not care a wit about it but the fact is that the rooms where we spend our last few hours on the face of the earth are frequently better than the homes we’ve just left; at least they’re more ornate.

We do not care either about those who come to pay their respects to our remains, to help console the next of kin, those who look at the photos of our lives and then sit to chat with relatives and friends who are seen all too often only at funerals and weddings.

What happens at such events is akin to opening a notebook written over our years. The book, tattered and beaten, its pages yellowed the marks on them fading in some spots, missing in others goes back a long way — all the way to our childhood many times. If we are lucky figures who helped create those pages pass by to say a final good farewell.

Childhood friends we played baseball with or went ice skating with come in. Behind them a high school classmate or two or three. Further along the line more pages of the notebook turn and there are people we fished and hunted with, spent time playing cards with or horseshoes out back or someone we sipped iced tea with as we sat on the front porch over a hot August afternoon. Family comes by saying you left too soon and how much more you had to give to your children and grandchildren and how sad it is you won’t be there to see the grandkids grow up, perhaps marry and maybe have children of their own. The neighbors down the street come by and wonder who will take your place as the neighborhood handyman or the baker of chocolate chip cookies. Those spots are hard to fill and there is no one quite up to your abilities waiting in the wings. People you worked with say so long and wonder if there will be another; your work ethic was stellar, your attendance regular, your quality unsurpassed.

Before long, though, the final page of the notebook is written, the book then closed and put on the shelf where those closest to us store memories. It will not matter to us.

In the summation of ones life however it really does matter for the thickness of that notebook, the richness of it, the quality of its writings be they big or small are all we really leave behind. The Great Equalizer came along and said, “It’s your turn friend, lets go” and so you left and the final farewell from friends who helped write the book of your times is what we gauge those years by. Too bad if the notebook has far too many blank pages.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on May 9, 2011.

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