A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

All Things Must Pass (#atozchallenge)

George Harrison   "All Things Must Pass"  (1970)

        All Things Must Pass 

          Sharon and I were in the same graduating class in high school.   I knew of her, but I didn't know her.  She was a small frail looking girl who wore glasses.  She was smart and studious. Though not one of the popular kids, she had lots of friends and belonged to many school clubs.  Not like me. I was more of a loner.

           After graduation, like a good many of our classmates, we both began attending the university in the city near where we lived.  There was an hourly bus run from our town that passed by the university.  That was usually my mode of transportation to school each day.   I began to notice that Sharon likewise rode the bus.

           Since we were frequently on the same morning bus to school and she wasn't sitting with anyone, I would sometimes sit with her and we got to know each other somewhat.  It was mostly small chat, but we'd talk about many different things.   I started to think of Sharon as my friend.

          When I didn't see her for a week or so I didn't think too much about it.   We were friends, but not overly close.   I didn't even know her phone number.   Then I happened to be reading the local paper and ran across a small notice on the obituary page.  Apparently Sharon had passed away in her sleep.  The family found her lifeless in her bed.   I was stunned and saddened.

          My thoughts went back to the last time we had spoken together.  We were in the bus station waiting for the bus to begin boarding.   We were engaged in our usual small talk and somehow the conversation came around to clothes and shopping.  I asked if she were planning to buy clothes for the spring which was soon to come.  Her reply to me was, "Who knows?  Spring may not come this year".

         We both laughed at that and I saw a sparkle in her eyes that I can never forget.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but in retrospect I realize how prescient her comment had been.  Was she telling me something that she knew was coming?

          Many years have now passed--over forty.  I've been married a few times, had kids, and now grandkids.  Sharon's younger brother later became a good friend of mine.  He didn't even know that Sharon and I had known each other.  One of Sharon's sisters married one of my longtime friends.   I've seen the passing of many other friends.  Life goes on--and on.   And yet it all goes far too quickly.

          Often I forget about the preciousness of my time.  All things pass away and no matter how hard we try we can't hold on to it all.  Pieces--a photo, a scrap of paper, a fading memory.   And one day we too will not see the next spring to come.

           How many friends have you lost over time?   Has anyone you have known ever made an eerie prediction that you didn't realize until after it happened?   Do you think there are certain people who enter your life for the sole purpose of teaching you a deep meaningful lesson?

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  1. Hi Lee - poor kid to have such a short life .. but so pleased you saw that sparkle.

    I had a schoolfriend who died of leukemia, one who was killed in a car accident and then a great friend for 50 years, who died suddenly .. I often think of her ...

    All things must pass - sadly it is true .. all the best - Hilary

  2. My high school class keeps a list of those who have died. Every time I see the updated list, I'm stunned at how many died so young.

    Your friend might have served to teach you a lesson about life, but you also brightened many an hour in her too-brief time on earth.

  3. What a sad and sweet story. I had a friend that was a flight instructor, new husband, young kids, die in an accident. I struggle with it frequently.

  4. Oh my--so sad. The greatest compliment for me when I die will be for others to keep remembering me.

  5. Late last year I lost my childhood best friend, suddenly, unexpectedly. We hadn't spoken or seen each other in years, but when I found out he was very ill and not likely to make it, when I found out he had died, I was incredibly shaken. We had been so close, gone through so much together. I felt like piece of myself had been ripped away.

    But then I had a dream... I saw him from a distance, he turned and smiled at me, waved then walked away through tall grass and disappeared.

  6. I had a friend who called me up one day and said she was telling me goodbye. She had decided to stop receiving dialysis, since she broke her back. I talked with her for a long time and realized she was making a well thought out, informed decision and no one was going to change her mind. Not even me. I felt stunned and saddened to hear her tell me this. She believed she was living on borrowed time, but each day had been precious to her. After all, how many of us get to choose our time to go?

  7. I have lost two friends early in life and the shock is still very real. Like you, there are people in my past I still think about, some I never knew that well, like your Sharon, yet it seems they have played a role in making me the person I am today. Very thought-provoking post, Arlee!

  8. Hilary -- It's sad to see dear friends go, especially at a young age.

    Wendy -- Same with my class. On the Facebook page someone set up for our graduating class somebody a while back compiled a tribute to the members who had died since high school. I was shocked at how many there were.

    Flip -- A young parent dying is especially tragic.

    Teresa -- I don't care about a fancy gravestone and cemetery plot. I want my kids and their kids to have fun stories to share about my life.

    Bish -- That dream gave me a chill. I've had similar dreams about people who have died and it's always been very comforting.

    Karen -- It must be weird to see it coming, but I guess it allows for goodbyes.

    Sharon-- Some people just seem to stick with us long after they've gone.

    Shelly - thanks.


  9. Caught me off guard with this one.

    Death is never easy but I believe in a life after, no, not the heaven as most folks see it. But I do believe that each soul has a journey, and this life is just one stop. Sometimes the short visit is just for that, the purpose of teaching!

    Love the idea of a memoir blog!

  10. Nice story, sweetly told...poor girl, too soon. I look at my young son...her parents must have been devastated. Good start to the A2Z and if my memory is correct, Happy Birthday to you...21 again?
    Enjoying the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

  11. Hard to find words for this- other than I understand, after a fashion.

  12. Yes to all of your questions Arlee, Sharon clearly meant a lot to you then and now. A group of students from my old school recently connected to a family of one our school friends that died on Facebook - it was a joyous exchange - the family were so happy to know we still thought of her

  13. so sad and so true. we need to value today a lot more!

  14. Your combined song-and-memoir posts for this year's challenge have certainly started off with a moving story. I'm very lucky as far as friends go -- other than family members, I've only attended the funeral of one friend, my dear friend Pam. I cherish the time we spent together, and one special day where she invited me to go to a horse-logging demonstration in the deep wintery woods remains as one of the most precious days of my life.

  15. Just looking at that video of such a young George Harrison reminds me of the passage of time. I think I'm reminded mostly when I think of my kids and grandkids - it seems like my 40 year old should still be 5. :)

    One never knows what around the bend. Always a good reason to make the most of your life.

    Thanks for being a co-host and minding all your add-on minions! :)

    River Fairchild – A to Z Challenge, a Jeremy's Angels Co-Host Minion
    Seasoned With Words

  16. AS I was reading your post I was thinking how few people I know who have died, but then I remembered that last year I learned of the death of a high school friend. He was one of those people that I had a connection with == he was a great listener and was there for me during a very difficult time. We lost touch after high school and when the internet became big I started looking for him and didn't find him, until last year. He was biking and was hit by a car -- the crazy thing is that although we grew up in Maryland, he lived close to me out here in California. I'm sad that I will never see him again this side of heaven (am hoping to see him on the other side) -- all things must pass away.

    I remember when that album came out. George was always my favorite Beatle. Another bittersweet memory.

  17. Such a sad story. I lost many friends, far too young. And a child when she was only 19. We aren't here for long so try to make it a pleasant journey for yourself and those around you.

  18. I lost my best friend at 15 years old. We had our lives planned and then she was gone. Dealing with the death of a friend at such an early age makes you look at life differently. If I don't see next spring, it will be OK too. Life is precious and not to be wasted on things that don't matter.

  19. Yolanda - I was doing so much memoir writing on Tossing It Out this seemed like a good idea to go with a memoir blog.

    Maggie -- My birthday is in January. I remember this rumor starting in some previous year.

    CWM-- I'm sure we all have a similar story to tell.

    Ida -- It's nice to learned that someone for whom we cared is appreciated by others as well.

    StoryT -- We never know what tomorrow holds.

    Julia --Special memories like you had with your friend are good to have.

  20. River -- Thanks for all your help with the Challenge this year.

    Thea --- I've been listening to the Harrison album of late and that's what reminded me of this song.

    Kate -- We never know about tomorrow.

    Ann - When it's our time then that's it. What else can we do?


  21. Hahaha so my memory let me down again, blast it!...Oh dear *sigh* not been my best day!

  22. There was a boy in my Sunday School class whose name was Calvin. He had some health issues and had a tube in his neck. He was quiet but friendly. We were in the same confirmation class, too, and that year I got to know him a little better. We had siblings who were in a Sunday school class together, and I remember talking with Calvin about them at the Sunday School Christmas party.

    He stopped coming to conformation class sometime in late winter, and one day I was reading the newspaper and came across his obituary. I didn't even know he'd died. That was also when I found out that Calvin and I shared the same birthday.

    I never knew him very well, but he was a patient and kind person and I'm glad I knew him at least a little.

  23. Some people pass through our lives like a breeze, momentarily connecting but remain in our memories. Unknown to us or subconsciously we learn invaluable lessons from every person we interact with.
    -Fellow A-Zer

  24. Lee,

    Wow! That post gave me goosebumps. I think it would be shocking to see that obit in the paper. Then thinking about her comment to you is very eerie. I do think we cross paths with people to learn from them, whether it be them teaching us or the other way around.

    A few in my class were killed in Vietnam. Since I've been an adult and live in a different state,it's always odd when my sisters tell me about someone I knew who passed away, especially when I think about how I used to spend a lot of time with them when I was younger. But time is short, as you say, and it's over in a flash.


  25. Maggie -- Actually I think your memory was very good as the birthday rumor got started in some previous year and I got a lot of birthday wishes. Very strange.

    Jaimie-- Sounds very much like my relationship with Sharon. I have a feeling she had some sort of physical condition as she always looked so frail.

    Reshma --You stated that beautifully.

    Sunni - Now I usually get news like deaths on Facebook or from a friend or family member. Sometimes it's a good while after the death has occurred.



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Arlee Bird