O Me! O Life!
BY WALT WHITMAN
“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
On August 11, 2014 I bid my parents and my hometown goodbye (not for the first time in my life, and probably not for the last time in my life). I climbed into the back of my sisters very full Jetta and we headed south on US 131. The drive was fine, but it was a bit odd to be a passenger in a car for an extended period of time. (Most of the time I am driving by myself, especially if I am bound for Chicago). I looked at the scenery passing us by and adjusted bags next to me, and at my feet, so as to not crush anything. Eventually I got out my phone and started looking at FB (which ended up eating a shit ton of data). For a while I laughed at what friends posted, and made my own witty remarks about our trip thus far.
Eventually I came across some truly sad news, news that I had to research on the internet (more data used) to believe. Robin Willams, a man who always made me smile, and was truly talented was dead. I sat in silence, this couldn’t be happening… I was finally getting my life back on track, I was moving somewhere warm and had a new job. How, when everything was going so right, could something go so wrong. I sat there and watched the sad remarks about Mr. Williams passing grow on FB, the more remarks I saw, the more I tears welled up in my eyes.
Eventually I got up the nerve to tell my sister and her husband (god that’s still strange to say), they were both sad to hear the news. But they didn’t seem to be nearly as distraught as I was. I sat in the car as it rained and thought it was ironic that the sky was crying for another lost soul.
Over the next few days social media was flooded with mournful posts about Williams passing and inspiring quotes with his picture. His life, and what brought about his untimely death was all over the news. And I’m fairly sure his passing was the hot topic of conversation. For as much of a big deal as Williams passing was made out to be at the time, why is it still not a hot topic now? Because in this day and age we move on too quickly; there is always some new scandal or death or birth to talk about. We need to slow down and take time to remember things. I will always remember Robin Williams, and I will always remember what lead to his death.