And no birds sing

I hardly knew him.

He was never in my classes in high school.

We never hung around one another.

His brother and I, though the same age and level, never really knew each other, except by recognisable face in the hallway or presence in the classroom.

Until the high school reunion two decades later, I never thought of him or his brother.

Since the reunion, occasional posts on Facebook were seen.

Yesterday his brother informs the world that Geoff is dead.

A man I barely knew, a man barely older than myself, is now… no longer.

We never shared a beer or a joke, only a common history and origin.

I am saddened that only in death do I recall him.

I am saddened to think that as I age, more and more of my peers are… no longer.

Suicide, accident and disease have taken at least a dozen of those who used to fill the halls of my high school.

But for the grace of God, their deaths might have easily been my own.

The skies over Landschlacht are appropriately grey and lifeless.

No birds sing.

Back in Lachute where Geoff remained, and now remains, those who knew and loved him say their final farewells.

It is not right to mourn someone I barely knew but knowing of his death I feel…diminished.

To his family and friends, I pray in this time of great sorrow that you find some measure of comfort in one another.

To anyone else reading these words, take a moment and let the ones you love know how you feel.

Geoff wrestled with depression and finally surrendered.

His fight is a struggle far too many of us endure, but perhaps Geoff’s sudden departure can remind us of the necessity of appreciating life and our loved ones.

We need to learn how to reach out to one another and to recognize when others need love but don’t know how to reach out for it.

As I write these words I am reminded that everyday as thousands die thousands are being born.

But never in the ages that came before or in the ages that will follow will there ever be another person quite like the individuals we are.

Scientifically, we are unique with our own individual DNA, bacteria and fingerprints.

Our backgrounds and histories are unique to our individual selves.

One could say that every person is a unique miracle.

Miracles should be cherished and treasured.

Love yourself.

Love others.

Seize the day to appreciate your life and the lives of others.

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