Jake sat in the park people-watching and daydreaming. He had an inner sadness he couldn’t seem to shake. His sixtieth birthday was tomorrow. What hit him was how fast the years had gone by and how few years remained. If he was lucky he’d have another twenty or twenty-five years.
Life so far had been a series of ups and downs, highs and lows.
He’d married, had kids, got divorced, and lived the single-life again, much to his dismay.
Somehow he’d lucked out and found another woman to love and put up with him. He married again, this time a much younger woman. He had kids again. He was happy, but his life was slipping away. Then the birthday jumped up to rouse his fears.
He found himself thinking more and more of his own inevitable death. He’d watched his father die. During the subsequent funeral his thoughts drifted to his demise and his own funeral. Death threatened and loomed. Religion told him death was not to be feared. It was the end of one life and the start of a new one.
Deep in his gut he believed death was the end. After all what made humans different from other life forms. When you die you cease to exist. The body decays and returns to the earth. When you’re dead, you’re dead.
He only hoped his wife and kids remembered him as a good man, but a man none the less. One who had good qualities, and also who had faults.
He visualized his funeral. The mourners came to pay respects, visit, and talk about him.
His body was lowered into the grave. Family and friends shed some tears, and then returned to the problems of everyday life. His mortal remains lay in the coffin in the cold ground. A headstone marked his final resting place. Maybe his wife and kids would come to visit his grave, and maybe not. He hoped they would come and find solace, especially his children.
Yells and squeals of delight shook him from the melancholy place he’d been. His wife and kids came running into the park. Arms of love surrounded him. Life was good, at least for now. Death was shunted aside until its inescapable return.
Steve B. Davis, 2009