recollections & reconnections, news & blues

At 64 years, there are more people I’ve known than with whom I remain in touch; even in this expansive, explosive era of 24/7/365 (366 in leap years!) cyber-communication.

On occasion, for whatever reasons (probably, at least those of which I’m conscious, having to do with my daily reflections on my mortality and my frequently accompanying recollections of my childhood and young adult years), many of these folk come to mind. With my images of them frozen in time, remembering them as they were, I wonder what they are doing, where they are, how they are.

Today, one of my St. Louis childhood friends, Marsha, whom I’ve known nearly 60 years, shared the news of the death of one of our contemporaries, Christopher. Immediately, I was struck. Hard.

Recently, Ronald, with whom I graduated from high school and with whom I share a surname (though we’re not related, he definitely is the fruit of a far more artistically and athletically productive branch of the Abernathy tree!) and I reconnected via the miracle of Facebook. Today, he apprised me of the news of the deaths of two of our former classmates. One, David, I first knew in kindergarten. Again, immediately, I was struck. Hard.

My mind and heart, soul and spirit burst forth in a bluesy dissonant four-part harmony of sorrowing prayer for Christopher, David, and me. I know I’ve arrived at a new stage (stop?) on my life’s journey when those with whom I share a generation die.

One of my favorite poets, R. S. Thomas,[1] with lucid, austere verse, reflected on his entry into a new year, resolving to face each day, with the courage of acknowledgment, his inexorable movement toward his death, which he termed “the betrayal of birth.”

As I pray eternal peace for Christopher and David, I also beseech the heavens for the determination to live each day with an audacious acceptance of my inevitable end, come whene’er, howe’er.



[1] Ronald Stuart Thomas (1913-2000). See his poem, Resolution, R. S. Thomas Collected Poems, 1945-1990 (Phoenix Giant Publications), page 309.


4 thoughts on “recollections & reconnections, news & blues

    • Thank you, Janet. I appreciate your kindly care. Yes, death oft surprises, in these moments involving folk of my generation. I’m left to wonder, among many things, why them; each a valued contributor to society’s well-being. My wonderments aside, I pray, as you so generously intercede, for their peace in the glory of God’s dearest, nearest presence. Again, my thanks and love


  1. Paul,

    I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your friends, and I truly understand why it’s hit you so hard!!! I hate that we are at the time in our lives where we attend more funerals than weddings or birthday celebrations.

    One of the things that struck me the most however about your post was the fact that you even had those connections in your life from that far back – connections that were deep enough that caused you to be hit so hard when you learned of your friend’s deaths. I so admire that you were able to remain connected for such a long period of time.

    If I could change one thing in my life it would be that I would have made greater attempts to remain in close contact with friends from my childhood – especially in my neighborhood and with elementary school classmates.

    One thing I learned from attending my high school reunion a few weeks ago was that it’s never too late to reconnect – and now that I have reconnected I need to make every effort to maintain those relationships before it’s too late.

    Thanks for sharing your story because it’s a wake up call for others I believe!

    Sending you much love and healing hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loretta, you are so right, I feel, about it never being too late to connect or reconnect. I think and feel that as I continue to age (praise God, I am continuing to age; meaning I’m still in this world!) I think more about folk I “used to know” and I wonder more about how they are.

      As for my contemporaries dying, Tim’s death hit me impossibly hard; so much that, as my brother Wayne, I think of him daily and, at times, several moments during each day. His countenance, his voice, his gestures come to mind and I smile. God bless Tim and you!



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