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Sunday, May 26, 2013

When is the last time you will see someone?

When is the last time you will see someone?
Everyday you pass by people you won’t see again for the entirety of your life. They are like extras; they are just there coming and going.  But what about the people you know ? The people you have met, interacted with, loved, hated, talked to, learned something about? What about those people?

It’s hard to imagine because you never know when it’s going to happen. There is no sense that you have that says, ‘this is the last time I will ever see this person again’. When graduating high school or college, or quitting a job, or moving you may have the sense that you won’t see a majority of these people ever again. You will never know with any sort of finality. They may go on to live long and happy lives parallel to yours. They may live in that red house 4 blocks down and you just never happen to pass them by. But, You may bump in to them in the grocery store, a party, the bar.  Tragically, there might not ever be a chance for you to see them ever again.

My brother graduated from Fairfield University last week and a majority of the students he graduated with, many he didn’t even know, he will probably never see again. Unfortunately, there is one student he will with certainty never see again. This classmate, Deandre Lawton, crashed his car in the early hours the day before his graduation. The baccalaureate mass was also a memorial. What were the last thoughts his friends, his classmates had about him? What if you didn’t like him? What if you loved him?

No one knew when he left a party on that fateful Friday night that this would be the last time they will ever see Deandre. Someone I spoke with said the last conversation they ever had with Deandre was him bumming a cigarette, something so incredibly ordinary. A conversation that you would never recognize as the last conversation you will ever have with this person.

How will you find out that you never will see someone again?
This year I have had two friends pass away, both by committing suicide. And I found out both had died via Facebook. It is possibly one of the most bizarre ways to learn about something so sad. Before this year, the only way I had found out about any deaths of people I had known were my Mom, or a call from a friend.  While this is an awkward and strange phone call to have to make, it is undeniably human. I have been on both sides of that phone; I’m not sure which is worse. To find out about death from a website used for updating people on your life feels unnatural, but perhaps it is becoming macabrely fitting. We use the site to tell people what we are doing and it seems as though it has started to tell people when we cease as well.

When will be the last time someone sees us?
Similarly to not knowing when you are seeing someone for the final time is the opposite. What will the last impression you will leave on someone. Is being a jerk to the person in traffic, to your waitress, to your brother, what you want to have as your last act on this earth? You could be watching a marathon when a bomb goes off, riding your bike to school and get clipped by a bus, you may not have the will to continue on. Life is horribly fleeting.

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