Friday, October 26, 2007

more willy reflections

Sometimes I try to figure out why Willy’s death hits me harder and stays with me longer than the death of any other person in my life.

I think about death fairly often. I find that practice healthy as opposed to morbid.

Hopefully, by reminding myself of death I will value the “now” in life. This helps me love the ones I’m with in life. Sometimes, it helps me like the life I’m in. And occasionally, it helps me leave the computer or any other self gratifying isolationist gimmick and run around the house chasing my three year old son playing shoot the monkey*. Because, you know, maybe for some tragic reason, tomorrow we won’t get to play shoot the monkey ever again.

I think Willy’s death affected me because of the complete erasure of his life. He left this world with little physical evidence of having ever existed. He had no spouse. No children. No family other than his gay brother from Coleman, Texas who was dying of AIDS at the time (I wonder if he’s still alive. He had no phone so I don’t know how to get in touch with him). Willy left a meager handful of material possessions scattered in his apartment.

Willy walked the streets one day and was gone the next without a trace. The only evidence he had lived was our memories and a few photos I had taken.

Willy’s brother donated the body to science as he had no money to bury him with. There wouldn’t even had been a memorial service or obituary notice had the izzy group ministry not decided to do those.

Something about that...leaving no evidence of your life...leaves me broken.

But I guess that kind of death is good. In a way it’s very noble and humbling. Perhaps all of christ’s followers should strive for a death that does not reflect on self.

*This game requires one of these, the best toy ever invented. Ever. It’s a monkey with rubber bands in its arms and it screams on impact. We run around taking turns shooting each other with it. And I sing “shoot the monkey” to the tune of Peter Gabriel’s Shock the Monkey.

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