When Endings Aren’t


By Mark E. Smith

Endings. Where does one begin? Yes, that’s a haunting double entendre because the question is just that: Where do endings begin and where do we begin with endings?

Over the holidays, I was at my friend, Brett’s, house visiting his parents. I haven’t been there since he passed away last year of multiple sclerosis. I think I assumed Brett’s absence would be clear because, after all, he’s passed on. Yet, as I strolled along the sidewalk leading to his house, I looked up to his bedroom window – the room centered around a hospital bed, computer desk, his artwork and assorted eccentric collectibles – and I felt he was there. I realized in that moment that the end of Brett’s life that I’d assumed at his funeral, wasn’t. What, then, had changed with Brett’s passing?

Upon entering the house, I saw pictures of Brett in his trademark professorial glasses, and his artwork, and his room. We all ordered Chinese food just as before, and Brett constantly came into the conversation. Where was the end, the part where Brett was gone forever?

Brett wasn’t gone. He was there with us in very real ways. No, his mother can never hug him again – and I don’t know how a mother deals with that kind of pain – but I realized that evening that Brett will always be present with all of us who knew and loved him.

When it comes to life and death, where are the endings? Of course, we all know that there are no real endings, not even with one’s passing – it all carries on with us. Life is a journey and although the path may change, the experiences, memories, the impacts made on us never end – they merely evolve as our path continues.