Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Death Year

It's turning out to be a bumper year for death. Since my last post, two other people I knew have died. Both of them were acquaintances made through my last job: working as a groundskeeper for an apartment complex. The first death was a suicide. An old guy who lived in one of the apartments, who's wife had died the year before, found out he had cancer. He lay down in his bed and shot himself. I'd only seen him once since I left my last job. Normally he was a very friendly, chatty personality; the sort of fellow you liked having around, but also kind of dreaded seeing--he'd talk your ear off if you let him. The last time I saw him he walked right past me and didn't even seem to notice me; like he was lost in a haze. When I heard he'd killed himself, that last encounter took on a whole new meaning.

The other death was accidental. One of the boiler-room workers burned to death in his own home. He'd been scheduled to go in for knee surgery the next day. I don't know if his knee problems contributed to him not being able to escape the fire, but his death caught everybody by surprise. He was only in his 40s, and in good health other than his knee problems.

Also, yesterday I learned that author Howard Zinn died recently, and so did emcee Guru of Gangstarr. I haven't heard much about Zinn's death, but Guru's--which only happened Monday--has received decent publicity. He died at 43, from cancer. From his hospital bed, shortly before his death, he wrote a letter for the public, much of which has since been made available online. The letter seems like a bitter-sweet mix of gratitude for the life he's lived and for the friendship of his business partner Solar, and contemptuous furtherance of his desire to not be associated with DJ premier, the other half of Gangstarr. Interesting, and kind of sad, that he'd hold on to his grievance even at death's door.

No comments: