Sunday, April 06, 2008


My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!
-"First Fig"
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

There's a saying that those whom the gods love die young.

My dear, dear friend Victor's brother, Gerard, died just recently. He would've turned 37 today. I've never met him, but it was still a shock to learn of his unexpected death, and at such a young age. The question "why?" arises in such cases. I'm not saying that death in the elderly is any less tragic, but it somehow seems more overwhelming, more stupefying when the Grim Reaper comes with his indiscriminating scythe for those who are still in their youth.

In Greek mythology, the fates of of one and all (including those of the gods) are decided by three goddesses collectively known as The Fates (duh). Clotho is responsible for spinning the thread of life; Lachesis' task is to measure each person's life-thread; Atropos, with her scissors, is the thread-cutter, the bringer of death.

My question is, by what standards does Lachesis decide how long or short a person's thread is? Is it subject to her whims? Or does she allocate each thread's length in accordance to foresight and insight which she alone knows and understands? In any case, it hardly seems fair, and understanding why something could be so is very difficult, especially in the first days, weeks, months when the grief is still new and at its most painful.

But maybe understanding of such a devastating and life-changing event comes later to those whom the dead leave behind. Maybe one of the steps leading to eventual understanding is acceptance. Acceptance of physical separation, acceptance of departure, acceptance of see-you-again-soon even while asking why-the-hell-did-you-have-to-go-now.

In the meantime, there are the memories. Memories of both big and little events - the latter so much the sweeter sometimes: the way he sang, the way he walked, the fire in his eyes when he talked about something important to him, his stance while astride his Harley, the sound of his laughter. Memories of his moments of sadness and anger, since both good and bad moments are part of living, just as death is part of life. Maybe one day such memories will bring smiles and laughter more than pain and tears.

Thirty-six years is but a blink of an eye in the vastness of eternity, but such a treasure trove of memories those years can bring. The thread has been cut, the candle has been snuffed out, but his light, music, and voice live on in the hearts of his family and friends, they whom he loved in life and who love him immensely both in life and in death.




Daddy Papersurfer said...

Hugs for Gerard's family and you

Mimi Lenox said...

I am so sorry, Lizza. What a beautiful tribute. I can feel your sadness but the beauty of his spirit lives on in this post.
My sympathies to his family and to you.

Travis said...

My condolences for this loss. You've written a thought-provoking tribute.

Be well.

Anonymous said...

This is a great, nice post. I didn't know him but please let his family know they're in our prayers.

Debo Blue

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

That is a young age. I will say a prayer for his family.


H said...

peace to Gerard and all those who loved him.

Photo Cache said...

Very sad to hear. May your friend find peace.

Bond said...

Wonderful tribute....beautifully written

Anonymous said...

Lieneke and Leen
Dear Lisa
Thank you for your loveley words, they did us good and we thank all the people for the comments and thank you for the love to Victor

Lizza said...

Thanks, guys. I never got to meet him, which I regret. Victor sends his thanks to you all, as do his parents (see comment above).

Lieneke and Leen: Thank you. We can only send you our sympathy and best wishes during these difficult times. Much love to the two of you and to Victor.

Sidney said...

He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

Sad to hear this... my thoughts are with his family.

Lizza said...

Beautiful quote, Sidney, as always.