To begin, far later than ideally, appreciation and gratitude for those who possess LIFE.
In football, time of possession is the most important statistic.
Business news, celebrity news and scandals, overnight police blotters, crimes and killings, all seem repeated so often, always yesterday’s news. Quickly forgot.
Today unfolds its own stories – some grief, some absurdity.
Calendar date familiar.
When pillow cases re-purposed in service of candy-laden youngster dreams and sugar-high schemes.
I planned writing something like this:
My daughter Carla sent photos – my grandchildren in their costumes.
Memories of chilly prairie nights, snow covered ground and parkas over/under costumes.
Play along, chew along, carve pumpkins, rattle old bones, candy day, fright-night, remnant of pagan ritual dedicated to remembering the dead. Occasion has been for so long, about candy and costumes, trolls and ghouls, witches and jack-o-lanterns.
Relevant, or clever candy marketing? Should we revive this celebration, as it once solely was – to remember the dead?
At this age-stage of life, too many people my age or younger dying. I am grateful for those who’ve gone before, died before. Grateful I’m still here.
No better day, perhaps, to reflect on good fortune of being alive than this day, one dedicated to remembering dead folks.
What wakes our spirit in morning – or mourning?
Remembering, celebrating that end-stage of life is scary as I am sure it has always been.
More than ever in history, we have a collective feeling we can actually do something about it. Not avoidance, but postponement by eating enough fish and yams like those old men in Okinawa.
Day of appreciation and gratitude – as every day should, that there is more to long healthy life than talking about it or writing about it, so we should not rest until we’ve made a change that actually makes a difference.
We need some un-frightening about death, don’t we?
Overnight news and front page, cause me to write this:
John Forzani is on life support.
Local sports hero, one of three brothers who enjoyed great success on football fields and celebrated careers in sporting goods, community leadership and raising money for causes. News … neither shock or horror, but surprise.
I’ve never met him. I once marketed the home where they grew up.
Today, John is front page news.
Today, the obituary page is mostly people who are unknown to nearly everyone.
What’s the difference?
One dead person vs. another, and does it matter?
One life ending at 67, of many. Some older. Some younger.
Juxtaposed against birth announcements heralding new arrivals.
I can only imagine, in that house where Forzani boys grew up, that on Halloween nights in the 50s and 60s, they were taking mom’s pillow cases around the neighbourhood to come home with fruits of their scary labour. I doubt they dressed in football uniforms with helmets and masks, cleats and padding … but they might have.
His time of possession too short in the eyes of many – but he will be remembered for all the wonderful things he did while he carried the ball.
Our society, someone pointed out to me the other day, does not want the second bookend (they are ALWAYS sold in pairs) of life and death, wanting only to revere one part of the pairing, loving the beginning but fearing the end, unable to talk about death or dying, unable to face that inevitability.
A long time ago, this day, this date, was set aside for just that. Not for celebrating births, but for celebrating death. Pagan? Yes. Morbid? Not so much.
We need unfrightening.
Our flight will be called, and then we’ll be gone.
Are you ready?
I’m not. I’m not even packed …
column written/ published from Calgary
P.S.: John Forzani died this morning
morning walk: 6C/42F, overcast, an early jogger sporting a flashlight grabbed Gusta’s attention because the light kept moving irregularly. I said ‘trick or treat’ an she was only further confused. Pleasant morning, light breeze.
Great description of a great Canadian, RT, Vancouver, BC
Mark; Another excellent piece, and one with which I most whole-heartedly agree. Not since Pierre Burton have we had such an advocate for everything Canada. Cheers!, DM, Calgary, AB
Thanks Mark. I have so appreciated, admired and enjoyed Rex for what seems like a very long time. Really good to hear you had the privilege to attend that function and hear from him.You know these places I travel to, and am currently at, do in many ways accurately reflect the life and community of many of the people Rex often refers too. Just going to enjoy a cup of tea and finish up reports prior to hitting my pillow to read a bit before lights out. Talk soon, JJ, Calgary, AB … somewhere in a roadside hotel on the prairies