A Fact of Life

September 29, 2007 at 2:34 pm (Death, Faerie, Friends)

I recently found out that a classmate of my brother from grade school was found dead in his bed, at the ripe old age of 21. According to his obituary, he died of natural causes, related to a heart condition. Putting aside the fact that I have heart issues as well, this news really made me stop and think.

In the month following graduation, two of my classmates from high school were killed, one shot at random in Boston, the other fell from the rigging on a tall ship he was working on. Going further into the past, another classmate committed suicide in our 7th grade year. Reaching even further into my past, I remember a classmate’s sister committed suicide while she was away at boarding school.

I have never really had an extensive network of contacts, having gone to (comparitively) small schools my whole life, and never having the desire to really break out of my intimate communities of friends and families. So the fact that I know of at least 5 people, all either my age, or barely a few years older than me, who have died prematurely, is sobering.

I don’t know quite what else to say about this. One natural cause, one murder, one accident, and two suicides. Life is dangerous. Accidents happen. Wrong place at the wrong time happens. Depression happens. Death is a fact of life. But we live in a world where we, teenagers, believe that we will live forever, we have all the time in the world, nothing can hurt or stop us. But we are wrong.

Edit: My faerie is working again. As soon as I posted this, “Going On Eighteen” by Dusty Drake came on my iPod:

Mama preached to me, boy be a kid just as long as you can
But I was hell-bent and bound and determined to be my old man
I was ready to drive and I wanted a job
Hungry to chase my dreams
Way back when I was twelve years old going on eighteen

Those four years of college I stretched into six and a half
If I woke up in time after parties you’d catch me in class
I moved back home, stayed out, slept in
‘Til one Monday morning I heard Daddy scream
You’re twenty-four years old boy, going on eighteen

Hey all I’m dying to do is to live
Just tryin’ to take what the day has to give
Everyone wants but they don’t always get what’s expected of me
They say act your age, don’t break no mold
Be young when you’re young and old when you’re old
They say I’m in the prime of my life, hell if I know what that means
In the back of my mind I’m still going on eighteen

Got the wife, got the kids, got the job, got the cars and the house
In life’s little rulebook it falls under “all settled down”
But give a handful of friends a handful drinks
It’s like riding a time machine
Abunch of thirytsomething-year-old guys going on eighteen

Hey all I’m dying to do is to live
Just tryin’ to take what the day has to give
Everyone wants but they don’t always get what’s expected of me
They say act your age, don’t break no mold
Be young when you’re young and old when you’re old
They say I’m in the prime of my life, hell if I know what that means
In the back of my mind I’m still going on eighteen

Now I preach to my boy be a kid just as long as you can
But he’s hell-bent and determined
To be his old man

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