Monday, October 22, 2018

Death of a stranger...

I woke up this morning to the news that one of my longtime Facebook friends died yesterday.  I didn't actually know this man at all.  I became friends with him maybe ten years ago because we both played Mafia Wars.  In those days, you had to be friends with people in your Mafia, so I ended up friending total strangers.

Most of those people are now no longer friends, but I did keep a couple of them around.  One is a very nice lady from Missouri who plays violin and was once in the Army.  One is a woman who lives in North Carolina and is of Dutch descent.  She has dyslexia, so despite the fact that she's very intelligent, her posts are often written in a way that make me want to break out a red pen.  Another was this guy named Brian, who lived in Ohio and was a very successful businessman before he got cancer.

I didn't know Brian offline at all, and I rarely commented on his posts.  I didn't even know him from another online entity, which is where I picked up a lot of friends I don't know offline.  I don't know that Brian ever commented on my posts, either.  I kept him as a friend, though, because he was an unusually inspirational person.  Most days, he would post uplifting status updates or comment on current events.  Sometimes he'd post pictures, which were sometimes kind of sad because I could easily see how healthy he once was and how sick he had become.  He was ill with cancer the whole time we were "friends", so that was at least ten years of significant suffering for him.  But he always kept an upbeat attitude and his love for his friends and family was obvious.  He wrote beautiful, insightful posts that provided food for thought.  I could also tell he was a fighter with a strong will to live.

This morning, I'm reading some of the many comments people have left for Brian.  It really makes me realize that you never know who you'll touch.  Brian touched so many people that he never had the opportunity to meet in person.  It's really amazing to think about it.

Sometimes, I feel kind of sad because I feel like I haven't amounted to a lot.  I'm at least halfway through my life and yet I have yet to pass milestones that most people do.  I never had children and never held a job that offered legitimate benefits.  You might say I have a bad attitude at times.  I don't know if that's just my personality or it's a simple facet of clinical depression and anxiety.  Depression has an awful way of distorting the way a person sees the world.

Every once in awhile, I get reminded that I have affected people in a positive way.  For instance, a couple of days ago, I wrote a very successful blog post about places near Stuttgart that we're glad we visited.  I know that at least a couple of people will visit places they might not have known about if they hadn't read my post.  That will give them memories that will last a lifetime.  In that way, yes, I had an effect.  There are definite ripple effects for most anything a person does.  My life hasn't been that conventional, but I can't say I didn't have an effect.  Even if I've only affected Bill, that's still something, right?  Everyone touches someone in some way.  Even shit makes the flowers grow.

I didn't know Brian, but he touched my life.  I know he struggled for a long time and was very ill, but I also know that many people will miss him.  I'll miss his uplifting posts on Facebook and his unique world view.  You might also say that his example is one reason why I keep writing.  I will write even when people give me negative feedback.  I will write even when what I communicate is negative or depressing.  I'll write, because even though there are people in the world who dislike me or hate what I do, there will be someone out there who will "get it".  Besides that, writing helps keep me from going crazy.  In a few weeks, things will probably get legitimately crazy for at least the rest of 2018.

This morning, I discovered that the fancy house we looked at last weekend got rented.  I'm not surprised. It was a nice house and I noticed the landlord came down 200 euros a month on his asking price.  I would have wanted it more if it had been in a less busy and less crowded neighborhood.  Unfortunately, I think it would have driven me nuts to live there, as great as the kitchen was and as intrigued as I was by the washlet toilet the landlord installed.  I'm not sure I want to have a landlord installed washlet, anyway.  Who knows whose and how many assholes have been cleaned with that thing?  But I think the noise in the neighborhood would have been problematic.

It wasn't meant to be...  I'll try to stay upbeat, though.  We'll find a place somewhere.  Besides, in December, I scored us tickets to see the Scottish Music Parade in Wiesbaden...  I'll be sticking around for that!

It's my wedding march... I just teared up listening to this.

Anyway... Godspeed to Brian.  May peace be with his many friends and family members who knew him well and will miss him.  I didn't know him, but he touched my life.  His work is done now and his suffering is over.

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