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PJM Lifestyle

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

February 24, 2013 - 10:00 am
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Trying to locate people I knew long ago through Google and other searches is something I seem to engage in when I’m at a standstill, unable to come up with something else to do. And that situation, since I’m excessively busy, tends to occur late at night, when I should be going to sleep but feel the day is not quite finished, still lacking something.

The problem here is that late at night, before going to sleep, is not the best time to engage in searches that may be emotionally risky.

As a few nights ago when — rather suddenly, without really thinking about it — I Googled “Bill Wiley” (not his real last name) and the name of the high school we both went to, Shenendehowa. It’s in Clifton Park, New York, a small town a bit north of Albany.

Boom — I found his obituary. Shown on the original page of the newspaper of the small California town where he’d been living. Dated March 21, 1994.

So his death was not exactly breaking news. Bill no longer played a huge part in my thoughts, but memories did come up occasionally, and I had even told Tami some stories about him. Memories and stories, it turned out, of someone long gone from this world.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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Many thanks, Lee Johnson, appreciated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks for your sharing your story. I think it's a fitting remembrance of a friend. Amazing how we are close to people and then it wanders away. In the past several years, it's usually Facebook. In some ways, the days when you lose touch with people are gone, unless they're gone.

In 2007, I did a similar Google search, an ex-girlfriend. In that case, she had married into a very wealthy and powerful family. She had committed suicide during a painful, public divorce. The family had played hardball with her and had found ways to hold her up to public ridicule while seeming eminently reasonable.

After I learned this sad news, I wrote her family and they welcomed the condolences. I visited her grave site. I still remember her and pray for her. That's all we can do.

I don't know if you plan on writing a letter to Bill's family ... but it might be welcomed. If it were me, I'd send a short letter to the widow.

In any case, thanks for this story. It was moving.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
According to me people who commit suicide are really very stupid. They do this because they can't face the problem that occur in our life.

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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
According to me people who commit suicide are really very stupid. They do this because they can't face the problem that occur in our life.

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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks, SunsetDistrict and thanks, Burkean. Re. Burkean, there are indeed striking parallels between the story you tell and the one I told. "But with Bill or Jimmy or Carol, and others like them, the facade of success is missing and what we see is some aspect of their true soul, and while it is often painful, we know it is real and must be acknowledged"--an insight that really resonates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks for sharing. We all know someone like Bill who live a hard life and too often die young. For me, it was my sister and her husband, Jimmy. Jimmy was exactly like the Jerry Reed character, Cledus Snow, in the movie Smokey and the Bandit; looked like him, talked like him, acted like him. The one exceptional trait my sister and Jimmy had was they truly loved each other and were determined to face life together. Everyone who met them knew without a doubt that they were soul mates. You couldn't help but like Jimmy and he'd go out of his way to help others, despite his own troubles. Jimmy owned a combine and went state to state looking for work, always just a step ahead of the loan sharks he had borrowed money from to pay his mortgage on the combine, always just a step ahead of the law, always short of money, always hungry, dressed in worn dirt farmer clothes, always getting into drunken fights as did my sister too. My sister, Carol, would work at whatever jobs she could get in whatever town they found themselves in. Usually the jobs were minimum wage or below minimum wage doing the most awful things like shoveling manure and the like. Hard backbreaking work. Jimmy would work the same jobs when he couldn't get a combine job. Jimmy and my sister would pass through town and see us at times every year or two. Each time their bodies showed the wear and aging from a very hard life but they never complained, never would accept charity although we tried to help them. Like your Bill, they had some good times but very few. In the end both my sister and Jimmy died in their forties, within days of each other. Although their lives were not testimonials to success or never breaking the law, in truth, they never hurt anyone, and left a trail of friends from all walks of life whom they touched. The funerals were attended by hundreds of men and women just like them who came from dozens of states to say goodbye. How they knew to come is still a mystery. I'm not sure what it is that makes us feel compelled to acknowledge the Bills of the world, but we must. I suspect that for the successful middle class person, who is recognized by the community, who never fails, never runs afoul of the law, we really never see their true soul. But with Bill or Jimmy or Carol, and others like them, the facade of success is missing and what we see is some aspect of their true soul, and while it is often painful, we know it is real and must be acknowledged.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great story from the heart.

The forward and best player on my basketball team committed suicide. He just could not deal with the real world.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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