089: To DIE doing what you love.
Wherein I discuss a recent string of bad luck and tragedy... and the silver lining at the end
I had no idea I’d run the full gamut of human emotions this past week and a half.
I am emotionally exhausted… but also INSPIRED.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I was in a mild car accident, totally okay on my end, but my old DART was worse for wear. A giant semi truck decided to slowly creeping death merge into the lane I was sitting still in. It was like slow motion “monster trucking” me. Long story short, the driver was a complete jerk, swore at me, refused to stop and well… I kept my cool. Let the cops and insurance figure that stuff out.
The WORSE news came on Saturday the 25th. My son and i went in for our early morning haircuts and the place was dead about 8:15am. Our barber, ART, informed us it was the first day of deer season in Pennsylvania. He had his magazines and was just kicking back reading. That afternoon Ally and I were planning on heading up the IRON MAIDEN themed “Drink & Draw” in celebration of the release of their new comic.
It was supposed to be a good day.
As Ally and I were just about to walk out the door, the phone rang…
And not only did Bill die…
Bill died doing what he loved.
Bill is Ally’s step-dad. He was in great health, just old I suppose at 74, a retired Marine. He was out hunting on the first day of deer season, like many other dudes in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Apparently, he had gotten his deer, a 4-point half rack early that morning, processed it, and was tagging the antlers and then… just dropped dead.
That’s how his son found him.
They reckoned the timing was he died between 7:30am and 9am. He hadn’t called back in and it wasn’t like him. This was probably happening the exact same time our barber mentioned deer season.
Incredibly sad, yet somehow, incredibly inspiring.
Our week went into slow-motion as we gathered to help comfort and support Ally’s mom. But two things stood out to me at the funeral home.
#1 Time slowed down: It was kinda freaky. But 15 minutes felt like hours. If “time flies” when you’re having fun, it surely creeps when everyone is sad and unhappy. All I could do was observe and listen and just “be there.”
#2 “Don’t be sad, at least he died doing what he loves”
I heard that over and over again. It sounded very sad the first 5 times I heard it… but soon I was thinking…. WOW… he REALLY DID. How great is that?
He didn’t die in an old folks home, or struggling to get around. He died on one last hunt. He’d of liked that idea. And this was also a big comforting feeling over those who felt so much sadness.
I want to die doing what I love too….
(Not right NOW of course. I have a lot left to do)
But, death always brings with it these reminders.
#1, our time here is VERY limited.
#2, we don’t really know when our number is up.
#3, appreciate every moment and the people around you that you love.
I’d be perfectly happy if I died at the drawing table drawing comics.
(Sorry if anyone finds me like that! Haha)
My point is…
Bill didn’t know he was going to die that morning when he woke up.
He set out to do that thing he loved to do… and he died doing it.
And… what about that deer?
It didn’t know it was going to die that morning either.
It was just out there trying to survive. Maybe it was just doing what it loved too?
Either way… both of their stories ended that morning in that field.
Or did they?
During the funeral the pastor said something important about STORY. That if your life might be like you are penning your own tale. And when you die, the pen is handed to someone else to continue the story.
You never knew who Bill was until now.
And now you know this story.
Maybe for a long time you’ll think of this story every time you see a deer.
Especially one with half a rack.
The Better Days Ahead…
Anytime life has thrown me some dark days or tragedy, I try to go to a happy place inside and think… good times are coming too. They must!
On the flip side of those really bad days, I received some REALLY GOOD news the day after Bill died. I couldn’t be openly happy about it with all the bad news surrounding us. Inside, I’m very excited, and it’s something I’ll talk about in next week’s letter.
That thing you’re putting off, that idea you’re thinking of doing “later”?
Tomorrow is NOT promised.
There may never be a “later”.
Thank you Bill.
🔥This Week’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
Hey! This week let’s let fate decide what you’ll draw! ROLL and DRAW!
Be sure to draw & tag #drawordieclub on the social platform of your choice
This last week in the DAILY DRAWING CLUB we did a “REIMAGINE” week. This week we’re doing a different fun theme… you should join the club!
STAY LUCKY! STAY SHARP!!!