The Imagery of Loss

Deer are not an uncommon sight in our neighborhood, but that does nothing to diminish the beauty or elusiveness of their taught, muscular grace. I stepped out into the driveway the other evening deep into the gloaming. As I turned to go back to the house, I startled a doe grazing in the natural are of our backyard. In a flash her white flag went up and she was gone, a gray-brown blur bounding away.

The after image of that fleeing doe lingered in my mind’s eye even after she had disappeared into the gloom of the thicket down the hill, gone in the blink of an eye, a smear of gray-brown smoke. Gone.

In some poignant way I was reminded of my wife’s uncle, her mother’s only brother, gone from this world just the day before. Even though he had lived a long, rich life and had been in declining health, he was still gone, just like that, in the blink of an eye.

But his after image will linger and for much longer. It will linger as long as those people he affected live and breathe and pass on his story. And there were many, not only his children and grandchildren, but the two sisters he loved deeply, the countless lives he touched on that battle-torn lump of a rock, Iwo Jima, as a Navy corpsman seconded to the Marine Corps, the people he did business with in his professional career, and friends on the golf course.

At times, life can seem as fleeting as the flight of a startled doe, but a life well-lived can send its after image much wider and further and transcends the generations.

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