Wednesday, September 17

Thoughts on Alan

I don't know if it is appropriate for me to spend time addressing Alan's death and death in general and how I feel about it. I don't want to offend or hurt anyone who knew him well, yet lately, when things are on my mind, this is where I put them.

I didn't find out about Alan until late last night. It had been a good day for me and I had spent the day with pretty high spirits. When I finally sat down to catch up on my blog reading and starting reeling all this information in I was just in disbelief and unexplicably sad. It's always been a strange circumstance to me, to realize that while you were baking a cake, or dancing or making love or laughing, that someone somewhere that had a presence in your life was dying. I have not really had to absorb the deaths of many in my life at all, and most who have gone, it was their time more or less. I miss my grandparents, and wish I had spent more time with them while they were here, but I understand death is part of life, and it was time for them, and I am not afraid of death when it comes for me.

My uncle Ronnie died too young. He wasn't terribly older than I am now and I wasn't particularly close with him. I found him entertaining as an uncle the once or twice a year I might see him. He was a fabulous pianist, irreverant, and I just liked him. When he died my reaction completely caught me by surprise. I was devastated. I cried for days, never knowing when it would hit me, and still imagine to this day that he is watching over me when I am trying hard in my car to learn to sing (against natures desire) He once asked me if I "had the music in me" and I try to think that maybe I do a little, and not waste it entirely as I imagine that he is looking on, even though I will never express it even close to as well as he did.

I had a relationship of mutual dislike with my ex-husbands father. He just wasn't very nice to me and I guess I never took the time to sit down with him and ask him why and tell him I wish it could be better. When he died I sobbed. I sobbed for a man I almost despised and left a letter in his coffin telling him how I wish things could have been better.

My reaction to Alan's death also caught me by surprise. I cried for the death of someone I did not know. I have no idea who Alan was except what I saw about him on his blog. What I saw was someone who seemed to have a great sense of humor ("Paul if this looks right to you stand up!") and was very generous sharing his techniques with us. I asked him a question once about how he made cut handled bowls and a couple of days later there was an extensive demo on his site showing how. And lastly I am regretful because of something simple I wanted to say to him, and now I never can.

He once posted a photo of a white vase that I fell in love with and asked him about. He explained that the other side had some brushwork on it and so might not be what I was looking for, and posted a photo to show me. It was lovely, but he was right, not exactly what I had in my mind. I politely wrote back thank you but, etc. . . Perhaps it is just my over analysing things as I am prone to do, but I have always worried that I might have offended or hurt his feelings by rejecting that vase, and I kept meaning to send him a note saying something about it. I'm sure that many reading this are going to rightly believe that he was completely fine about it and not offended at all, and you are probably right. It's just that now that opportunity is gone. Something I kept meaning to do, can never be done now. Just another of those moments when you realize all you might have is today and that's it.

So last night I wrote a note to someone about something that has been on my mind and in my heart for years. I felt compelled to write it, and decided I was not going to let the moment go by. I don't know what the result will be, but I think the results of not sharing my thoughts and hopes with him is worse than any anger he might feel by my doing so. I want to believe that I might somehow change his heart a little, and as a result, someone else's life with that letter. Maybe it's presumptuous of me to think I have that power, but if people I really don't know can affect my life, than hopefully I can affect his.


Linda Starr said...

Sad news, I didn't know Alan, but I looked at his website and saw a beautiful bowl with copper and turquoise and I just loved it.

Deborah, I agree opportunities are sometimes lost so we must avail ourselves of them at the moment and your reminder here has prompted me to remember a few I have neglected myself.

Ben Stark said...

It is truly amazing what an impact death can have on people. I had yet to find Alan's blog, but once I heard the news, I went over and found a person that was an amazing artist and a giving person. Your post is an excellent reflection on how death affects people and I think that it is completely appropriate for you to post it here in this community of people that are so welcoming and encouraging. It is truly amazing how we can feel sorrow for someone we have never met, and that their passing can have such a great impact on us.

As you said, I'm sure that Alan felt no hurt from your comment on the vase. We all know that people connect with certain objects and not others. Good luck with your note, and thank you so much for posting your thoughts and feelings.

Judy Shreve said...

This is a hard subject - I know I felt so sad after learning about Alan's death. It's hard to imagine such a vital person no longer among us. It makes us realize how tenuous this life line is.

In 2001 my dad died in August & my sister in November. I was a mess! I longed to be able to talk with them - to say those things I thought I needed to say -- and for awhile I consciously lived totally in the moment.

But life doesn't encourage living in the moment. It usually takes something drastic to startle us into realizing that it's important - cause soon we human beings go back to being caught up in our narrow views. I wonder why that is???

cynthia said...

Deborah, I think you wrote a very heartfelt post about Alan and other people who have shared a part of your life both big and small. I have always thought that everyone leads parallel lives and wonder about the forces in nature/universe/spirit that propel or even compel us to move into certain people's paths during our journey on this earth. I try to ask myself what I am suppose to learn from these encounters (good, bad and indifferent), though I don't always remember to do so because I'm preoccupied with whatever is going on at the moment in my life. When someone I know (and sometimes even someone that I don't know but am drawn to because of their story) dies, it's a harsh reminder of the fragility of life.

Deborah Woods said...

thanks for every ones comments. There's a lot to consider in what you all say, and since my response to this became so long I decided to make a post about it.