Bill Funt Staff Writer
This morning I woke to the news that my close friend from 5th and 6th grade Steve Krehbeil died suddenly over the weekend. We don’t know how yet, but we know it was unexpected. In the last year I’ve lost two other contemporaries Andrew Martin and Joe Bryant.
I am at the stage of life where when these deaths of peers happen people still say, “He was so young.” But I’m closer than I used to be to the time when they say, “He had a good long run.”
I cannot relate to people who say, “He’s just transitioning, it’s all good” when someone dies nor can I relate to people who see death as a consummately bad thing no matter what. I am somewhere in the middle, recognizing that it’s part of life (and not fearing it at all) but also recognizing the need to grieve the loss.
Some people I know feel certain that there is life afterwards, others I know are certain of the opposite. My feeling is that no one can be certain, but I hope there is. Because while there is joy and pleasure, life is HARD!
Do you ever wonder if there really is such a thing as too young to die? Sure people can live to be 100-plus, but clearly anyone can die at any age too.
I don’t know … I really don’t know the answers to any of this.
What I do know is …
A. While the deaths of these contemporaries/childhood pals when we are all at midlife are a different kind of experience than when my dad died in his 80’s nearly twenty years ago, they both make me feel more mortal than I used to feel.
B. Tell your loved ones that they are loved, but if you miss that opportunity don’t flog yourself over it.
P.S. Steve was a great friend and a devilish, world-class wise ass. Is it possible to forget a kid who defecates into a Dixie Cup and throws it out your 18-story window at your tenth birthday party? And can you forgive me for still thinking that’s funny even though I’d be furious now?