A friend of mine died in December 2019. He’d just turned 45. I’ll soon turn 45.

You don’t think about death when young. You think you’ll live forever. But seeing people you once knew as alive and passionate pass changes things.

Now, thinking about death doesn’t necessarily frigthen me, though, I’m not stupid enough to think no fear will come upon me at the moment of my death. If I see it coming, I probably will. And that’s why we should think about it more than we do.

After all, death is a part of life. Death is reality.

“We live in a death-phobic culture” I once heard a wise man say. I agree. Our aversion to acknowledging death as fundamental to life is hard for me to articulate.

Maybe it’s because we see so much less death in these modern times of material plenty. After all, when was the last bubonic plague or Irish famine?

Maybe it’s because we are losing the ability to relate to one another as the artificial world of television and internet take over our realities. After all, our constant escape into this world limits our abilities to relate to those whom our hearts still love.

Maybe the death-phobic culture is the result of the Great Falling Away from accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Without the blessed assurance of life after death, without the promise of heaven, death becomes a frightening thing. After all, what will happen to you when you die?

Heaven? Hell? Darkness? Light? The extinguishment of all consciousness???

But the above is for another post. I write this one because the grave of a man I grew up with reminded me of one of my best friends in life who, again, died in December 2019. I keep his photo on my wall. I probably always will.

Most of the time I don’t notice it. Even when I glance upon it, my mind races to other things. But sometimes it grabs my attention. When it does I pause, and reflect.

Sadness can come. Though we’d been estranged for some time, we’d patched things up. He’d recently visited Spain on my reccomendation, and considered this trip one of the best times of his life. He was planning on coming to Arizona in January or February of 2020. I believe the prismatic Arizona landscapes would have changed his life. No exaggeration. I was looking forward to healing old wounds, for him, and me.

But this didn’t happen. He had a diabetic blackout and rolled his truck on some lonesome East Texas highway. He probably died instantly.

And I keep that photo of my friend’s life because I still have mine. I am still alive. I still have the opportunity to experience joyful, beautiful and wondrous things in life. After all, Northwest Wyoming has planted a seed that I look forward to seeing change me.

Alex would have loved it here too.

Good things are always to be appreciated. After all, some don’t have that opportunity anymore. A photo of my deceased friend reminds me of this.

So did a grave I saw in Salt Lake City.