My birthday was last Saturday, March 15th. I turned 62.
One day before my birthday, on March 14th, Rita, an old friend and classmate from high school, died unexpectedly. Not quite two weeks before, I and several others had eaten lunch with her and enjoyed her hardy, deep tenor laugh as she drank a margarita.
When we parted that afternoon, she said she was going to stop by the hospital on her way home. She wanted to check on Helen, another old classmate, who was near death and did, in fact, die the next day. Rita asked me if I would like to go to the hospital with her, but I declined. I had already been to see Helen twice and since she was unconscious, I didn't want to go back again. Rita went anyway.
A week and a half later, Rita was also dead.
I've had a a curious sense of unreality about both Rita's and Helen's deaths, a sense that I, and all of my old friends from the Oak Ridge High School class of 1970, are quickly running out of time.
I've been looking at my many plans and unfinished projects with a sense of hopeless urgency, knowing I'll never have enough time to finish them all. Hell, forget about projects! I know I won't even find enough time to sort through my chaotic cabinets, drawers and closets. I suppose that inevitably an estate sale agent will be tasked with prowling through and disposing of the remains of my messy sojourn here.
Life isn't supposed to last forever and I don't want it to either. Perhaps naively, I'm hoping to find a better place in the next world. But, on the other hand, I'm not nearly ready to blow the candles out, not yet. And I feel so sorry and sad to lose my friends whose candles have already been extinguished: Jarrett, Patti, Esther, Jimmy, and in the last two weeks, Rita and Helen. I wonder why some people live to be ninety or even a hundred and others are called so early.
Is there a reason or is it all just a crap shoot?
I don't know. I only know one thing for certain. The longer you live, the sooner you die.
I and my classmates have now lived 62 years. We're old by all standards; card carrying members of AARP and social security eligible. Surely Death will be coming to call on many of us sooner rather than later. Yes, we are running out of time.
I was in my studio on the evening of the day Helen died and this little piano piece came to me, seemingly without effort, as if from another dimension. I turned on the recorder and captured it. The title arrived simultaneously with the music: Running Out of Time.
Ironically, the only disc I made of this piano piece was in Rita's possession when she died. She wanted to make copies for herself and another friend.
Since this melody arrived seemingly as a gift to me, I decided to make it a gift to others. On the BUY button, there is no minimum dollar amount for download.
Be well and good luck, Martha Maria