It’s not recommended writing one’s own epitaph, nor would I have ever considered writing mine, but circumstances being what they are have provided the reason to reconsider the past, to justify long-ago deeds, and in the slipstream between dark and light, seek absolution, and maybe forgiveness.
There is always a reckoning as the last breath prepares to make its final exit. It takes with it a life force so profound it’s difficult to accept, which of course, prompts the reconciliation. In the end, there is bartering with the unknown during a series of one-sided discussions that tend to occur between midnight and dawn, which include promises of devotion and if onlys. In the final days, time once wasted becomes coveted, obsessively, almost manically so. A yearning to endure and recapture what is forever lost is so intoxicating it convinces the logical soul to slip into the ethereal frame of mind reliving regrets, what ifs, why didn’t I, and finally, if only there was more time. I was above this sort of reflection because, and arrogantly so, I believed in a higher purpose. Now, like others before me preparing to for the last exhale, I am no longer certain of anything, except my end, and you.
In the span of my existence, I’ve not had reason to ponder eternal rest for prolonged intervals since hope has been my constant companion, protector, and savior. Hope, if pure, is might unchecked. It is the force said to be incalculable, so vast, ever enduring, yet equally vulnerable and brittle on a moonless eve. It is on such black nights my own force has withered to near extinction. Lying in wait as my breath slowed to a trickle, I’d not grovel for more time. I’d done my job well, behaved as expected, never once did I shed a tear of regret. I made peace with the world and waited for time to take away my radiance. I’d watch as the light sank, like a pit drying inward, through the cracks between the planks on the floor until there were only remnants of twilight. Before life ceases—time appears endless, but at death, time is faster than a shooting star—the past flashes before the eyes of the dying soul.
Using current day vernacular, the past plays back as if digitally enhanced in 3D, even the shadows and memories thought lost are vibrant and crystal, piercingly so. It’s brutal. In the breath between life and death, the sum of an existence replays on a flawlessly edited filmstrip showing fifty to sixty images sequentially. Time slows while the edited strip of film sitting on the spooled reel of the projector manually cranks through each frame so slowly one hardly notices the end has arrived. The last sound a soul hears is the flickering of the film on the spinning projector reel.
The soul follows it’s destiny onward as the last frame slips through the projector. If time, during death translated to a unit of measure, I ‘d say it was in this split second, before the credits rolled, I survived. I’d be pulled with brute force across the horizon into blinding faith as a single prayer uttered on a falling star, shot hope upward, higher and higher still, until it burst with glory over the night sky like a ruby colored rocket casting hundreds of thousands of wishes down into broken down hearts. In the collision of wishes and heartache, my purpose and sole reason for existence renewed.
I’d come back stronger and even more outrageous, glorious, almost divine. More than once I was near death with only seconds on the clock, tick tock tick tock, the clock welding it’s hypnotic control over my existence, but an innocent heart full of hope and desire in equal portions, is stronger than any force, physical or ethereal, and could bring me back with a wish on a falling star.
I’ve not regretted my purpose, nor wondered why hope kept me afloat and saved me the from other side, ever, at least not until you.
In all these years, I never felt the wrath of my own poisonous tip. I am the afflicter but never the afflicted. I’ve been the subject of artist’s passions for centuries. Some have spent the span of their life expounding on the subject of me, both my virtues and iniquities.
There have been artists, novelists, poets and songwriters, too. They’ve written to, for, and about me. Most have bled their misery and heartbreak on the blank canvas and filled empty journals. Some have substantial credentials, but the lofty and pompous fall short and often elude to what I represent, what I do and have done, but in the end fail to capture the essence of my existence, while those of lesser stature with limited training have on occasion managed to imprison my purpose unforgettably on the blank page. But as most attempts are so-so, adequate at best, I cannot trust my obituary to anyone but me. None have been able to write honestly and dispassionately about me in a way that speaks the truth, which because of you, now matters.
WHO AM I?
I am stretching my wings with voice and concept with this post. If you are so inclined I’d appreciate your input, who is speaking and is it a male or female?