Write Again … A matter of when

Published 7:04 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

“Everybody’s going to die. It’s just a matter of when.”

That’s a line from “Lonesome Dove,” and Jack loved to quote it. He had such a strong intellect and a very sharp memory, and could quote a lot of things he’d heard over the years.

When Jack’s time drew very near, I really believe he accepted it much as the character in “Lonesome Dove” did.

Jack was tough, and over the course of his life’s journey he experienced more than a little disappointment and real heartache.

In the wonderful book “Tell Me a Story – My Life with Pat Conroy,” written by his widow, she tells how her family relates the story of her grandmother’s final words.

“My grandmother had been in a deep coma for several days. Just before she died, she opened her eyes and focused on something beyond everyone else’s line of vision. Her face aglow, she said in a strong, clear voice: ‘I can see the other side, and it’s beautiful.’ She smiled, closed her eyes, and passed over to it.”

During Pat’s end time, when he was in the hospital and she was sleeping in a make-shift recliner bed in the room with him, she got up one night to go to the bathroom. As she “ … tried to slip back to my perch without disturbing him, he stopped me in a loud, clear voice. ‘Did you hear that?’

“I went over to whisper to him that it was just me, returning from the bathroom but his eyes were fixed on a point beyond me. ‘Do you hear them singing?’ he said, and his face lit up with something I can only describe as pure joy.”

Such occurrences, and others very similar, have been witnessed by people probably down through all the years throughout time. Trying to understand or explain these special moments just isn’t necessary.

Even though Pat Conroy achieved deserved acclaim for his literary successes, and several of his bestsellers were made into very popular movies, his widow has also made a mark as a gifted author, with six books to her credit, in addition to “Tell Me a Story” from which I have quoted.

Her name is Cassandra King Conroy, should you like to read some of her works.

For so many of us, reading, the world of books that we so love to inhabit, has enriched our lives almost beyond measure, in so many ways. Attempting to describe, explain this to a non-reader is virtually impossible.

Maybe my point is, we readers are grateful almost beyond words for being given the gift of loving to read.

I have a little pin-on button I bought years ago in the university district in Seattle (the University of Washington), that proclaims “So many books. So little time.”

Each passing year makes the understanding of those sentiments more real, more personal.

For, as the character in “Lonesome Dove” said, “Everybody’s going to die. It’s just a matter of when.”

“Destruction and devastation are always there, demanding our attention. The chaos of life makes us forget that sometimes, if we don’t get too distracted by the wreckage, the losses and heartbreak, we’re offered a glimpse of something better, maybe even something we can call divine. But we’ll miss it if we forget that beauty, like joy, is fleeting and never lasts more than a moment.

“A sparkle of sunlight on water, then it’s gone.” — Cassandra King Conroy

Thanks for reading this. Let’s meet here again next week.