Anonymous Obituary

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?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

32 thoughts on “Anonymous Obituary

  1. Brenda, my dear, I’m sensing you’re going through a rough time lately. Am I reading too much into your posts? I’m worried about you. I hope you know I’m here if you need to talk. You have my number and my email. We may never have met in person, but I’m convinced we’d be great friends if we lived near each other. Don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you need to vent.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Cover Reveal: Fae by Emily WhiteMy Profile

    • I promise this is just a story I swear! :-)I am truly doing better than well. Just working on short stories for submitting. You know, I am an ‘I’ writer, and until the blog post run’s it’s course, I can’t reveal who the narrator is.

  2. I read through this twice and the image that kept coming to mind was Marlene Dietrich in a 1930 photo in top hat and tails about to take a puff from a cigarette. Up close, you know it’s a woman and from far away, you know it’s man. I guess, I’m taking the easy way out with that one!

    • Telcha .. I love that connection. I hadn’t thought of Marlene, but if this were a she, it could be her. Thank you for that, it’s truly inspired.

  3. k~

    This is an excellent write Brenda. This could be many people/things, and while I don’t believe in a physical “devil” I could attribute this piece to the character of his being. That would mean I expect him to be male, it does not read like that of a female (though it is possible that is my own tainted lens). When I ask myself who is dying, writing their epitaph, preparing for the end of their final breath to begin, and take in all that you wrote… these lines stand out:

    “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.”

    It sounds like Lucifer himself has either fallen in love, and realizes that his demise awaits, his purpose means less to him now… because of “you”, one that touched the heart of evil itself, and melted the core of him. It could be that it is simply the allotted time he was given in the beginning of his reign is over, and he has accepted that he will no longer be a part of the world he was so much a part of until now.

    Flip that over… it could be a “God” in much of a similar fashion, who suddenly became aware that his/her purpose could only be kept alive by the “collision of wishes and heartache” where his/her “purpose and sole reason for existence [is] renewed.”

    This feels more than human, perhaps it could be a soul… the essence of a life force that goes beyond any one thing, to all things… “time appears endless, but at death, time is faster than a shooting star—the past flashes before the eyes of the dying soul.”

    Will you tell what your intention was now that I have revealed how the image was portrayed to me?

    • Well, K, since I wrote you an email you know who the narrator is but, I can’t confess on the blog just yet. As noted in the email I never considered for a single second this obituary would be read as anything dark. It makes me wonder if I didn’t leave enough clues, although to be honest, not clues are truly required once the next part of the story starts. I should have waited to post this on a Monday and not before a holiday week. I would dearly love to see more responses to the post. Ah the writer in me.

  4. Lynne Favreau

    How intriguing! Certain phrases and terms give me the impression of a woman. There’s a feminine sensibility to these comments “promises of devotion and if only’s” “Take away my radiance.” But to refer to oneself as arrogant strikes me as masculine.
    “Certain of my end and you—who is “you”? A person, God? Someone full of hope and had a belief in a higher power—a devotee.

    A purpose that hope kept afloat. The subject of artist’s passion. Is this a Female Muse?

    • Thanks much, Lynne. Thank’s for the feedback on the turns of phrase. It’s hard as women write to distinguish feminine from masculine, at least it is for me. I struggle enough with the voice of the narrator. So far, I like Teicha’s idea that the narrator be Marlene D., or maybe I am think of her incredible voice…

  5. Brenda, I loved your obituary but honestly have no clue who it is? I am sure it’s a story and not some inner turmoil expressed in words, take care and keep writing such brilliant pieces.

    • Thanks, Sulekha, and yes it is a story. In fact, it’s the intro to a piece. It was such a difficult intro to write since I didn’t write in a female or male voice, and I didn’t’ disclose the narrator, but it didn’t stop me. I can’t reveal who the narrator is just yet. I am too curious to see what others think (assuming I have more comments). I promise to reveal who… :-)

  6. I found the tone to be masculine. Some of the words would indicate more a man in touch with his feminine side than a female. This is a beautiful piece of writing. I feel like you’ve created a real mystery around this person. I want to see what’s behind the veil.
    Linda Medrano recently posted….It Could Have Been Worse – Day 30My Profile

    • Linda, once I finish the draft, I will send you the story. I think I was striving for male, but my feminine side slipped through.

    • Well, Maratha, you were correct. I am still deciding the sex, but I think once I revisit the page I will know. As always, thanks kindly for you thoughtful words.

    • Emily, I see that now, why you are saying that, but to be honest as I was writing I wasn’t sure (still not). I appreciate your comments and the details, the writer me didn’t see that AT ALL. Or maybe it’s the woman in.

    • Yes, both you and Martha nailed it. Monica, I have no idea. I was walking to work and there it was floating in front of me. I sometimes take breaks from the WIP and write shorts. This one seemed intriguing to me, although it’s proving harder to write that I thought. One, I am a true romantic and can’t imagine a world without love (herein lies my problem with writing it) but I liked the idea of Love making notes for the obituary. I still haven’t landed on a sex just yet, but I see the lines mentioned by other comments are feminine. Hard to get rid of my girl voice. Hmmmm. I think writing to you about my problem has just solved the problem. Love that…

  7. Love, hunh? “The wrath of my own poisonous tip” that others have commented on – seems like a double edged sword there, no pun intended. Because love can be both a curse and a blessing, and if you escape the curse, it also means you miss the blessing.

    If you want to make Love a more manly man, you might have him taking offense at all who portray him as a soft, dimpled baby.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted….Baby Steps, Babycakes, with Your FaceBook Fan PageMy Profile

    • Good point, Bev. I haven’t gotten that far. To be honest, I am wondering if it matters if it’s a he or she, or if it’s the emotion of love now hurt that is reflecting on the past because of the heartbreak ‘it’ is suffering through.

  8. Fascinating. Well done. I didn’t figure out what many other commenters did … that it was “Love’s” obit. I felt a masculinity in the voice … the regret … the sandess of being the jiltOR more often that the jiltEE. Favourite line: “The soul follows it’s destiny onward as the last frame slips through the projector.” Too romantic for a man’s voice but still very moving.
    Incidently, I have heard that it is a very good exercise to write your own obituary…
    Astra recently posted….Life, interrupted…My Profile

    • Thanks, Astra. I can’t say it is a fun write, because it’s not. It feels like the first poem I write, bloody hard and I want to abandon the effort all together, but I am in too deep.

  9. New to your blog (from She Writes). This is quite interesting, full of lovely language! The voice reads as feminine to me — not sure why. I see, from above, that the narrator is love. Is the “you” death? (P.S. – lovin’ your blog’s header photo!)

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