So my picture for today isn't anything special or crazy but I think some times words need to say more than the picture. Recently there was a death to the Art and Architecture family here at the University of Michigan. I unfortunately never had the chance to take a class taught by him or even the pleasure of meeting him but my heart still aches and goes out to the people who knew him. I can feel that the world, school, and his family have lost a wonderful, influential man to an uncontrollable circumstance.
Death is a tricky subject because while it is a very traumatic, saddening experience, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the people we lose. The reality of death is that death is real and if you have not yet been touched by it you inevitable will be. It is important to grieve in this process but we have to remember not to stop every thing in our lives for too long.
I have a funny way of thinking about death which I know is shared. I believe that the people we lose have their way of staying with us in ways that are some times not possible to explain to others. As people we are a cultivation of experiences and a lot of those experiences are influenced by people in our lives, you can be sure that parts of other people are a part of you. So no matter if some one close to us dies and we live on, a part of them is still alive in you.
I have a person who still reaches out to me to this day from some where above.
My grandfather was an amazing, motivated, passionate man who believed in supporting communities and preserving naturally beautiful things who through all of the complications in his life always seemed to push positively forward. I did not know him as well as I wish I did but I know he is still with me, helping me make tough decisions and find a path through this dark world we live in. How do I know he is with me? It might seem silly or out right ridiculous but he manifests himself in penny form. How I came to believe this is a story in its self, regardless it is what moves me forward because he has been with me through a lot of things I wouldn't have wanted him to miss.
For example I saw a penny on the ground at my high school graduation, which is something I know he would have been there for if he was here today. But other than that he follows me to the great city of Detroit, to my apartment, in the art studio, he is with me always and if I happen to forget I look down to a smile in the form of a penny.
So I guess what I am trying to say is death is a part of living! It is important that we don't let that thought or happening hold us back from the life he have now because if you don't live your life, I honestly don't know what else you are going to do with it. Hold onto the people you lose with pride and celebrate them just like you would if they were still he with you. Death is only the loss of a persons physical existence on this earth, it does not mean that they have left you forever.
Be happy, stay positive, and push forward! That is what the people you have lost would want and if you keep your eyes and mind open they might present them self to you in ways you never thought possible.
Rest in peace Shaun Jackson.