“Crossroads” (1999), by István Orosz, is a limited-edition print pulled from a metal engraving.

It is the craziest of things, not knowing how to precede when standing at a crossroads.  When there is a choice to be made, a decision to be reached, a path to be chosen, do we turn right, veer to the left or stay the course and travel straight ahead[1]?  To make matters worse, how can I possibly explain to someone what steps to take to where I am going if I am unable to qualify or quantify the destination myself[2]?

I guess all I can really do is begin.

My story, or at least one version of it, really begins here, at this time, in this place.  And in many ways I am no longer relating it to you, rather you are reading and remembering and relating it to me as it really already happened, so with that let us begin at an ending, a particular ending- my brother’s funeral.


Funerals are such lonely affairs.


Grief can be suffocating, a force that can smother like a hand clamped across ones lips and face, and eyes that tear.  Even breathing comes at a price, a struggling hitch, the feeling that your chest has been enwrapped by bands of harshest steel, constricting, unforgiving.

Your hands and feet feel swollen, so distant you can hardly feel them, yet crawling with pins and needles as all eyes are turned towards the earth in search of a God that chooses to remain strangely silent.

Beneath us the dry and withered grass lies dormant in clumps.

I’m barefoot, ‘they’ are not.

I chose to feel the earth we are about to put you in, ‘they’ do not.

My parents wrap their arms around me and crush me to their chests filled with your loss and fears and tears-


If you haven’t already guessed it, we are at a funeral, and now you have joined me.

We like to stand apart, those of us who are not directly involved, as if the very act of those mourning shall somehow transcend their grief to us.  As if the very act of mourning can be contagious-


At this point I am reminded of a lecture or paper I once heard read, announcing the particular eccentricities of time and light, that in all truth we only see into the past, and are rarely, if not incapable, of seeing into the future.[3]  Take the Moon for instance, what we see when we cast our eyes to the heavens is what the Moon looked like 1.2 seconds ago.  The Sun goes even further back in time than that, a full 8, almost 9, minutes.  So in a way these measurements in time can also be used to describe a distance.

Where am I going with all this?  In a weird sort of way, in our hasty departure to travel into the past, what we really need more than anything is the ability to remain in the present, and let’s not even worry about tomorrow.  That’s where things can get really hairy.


Our ability to share in ones loss, can often prove one to another, especially to those still living, just how mortal this life can truly be.  That life, no matter how bright and full of promise of light, can be snuffed out like a candles wick, and all it takes is but a single breath.


Meanwhile, back at the cemetery… words are read and attention drawn to the shadowed depths of those crowding about us, pressing, crushing, and smothering in an attempt to hold us ever to the present.

This is how I remember it, the words that are said.

Then again, I might be biased.


“Blessed are those who seek God and find him, cursed are those that seek and do not find, and are much too young to realize such loss… it is through their beautiful and innocent outlook on life, through their eyes and inner workings that we, who are older, are preserved… for what little childhood remains can only be passed behind us, never forward.  What good does it do for a man to gain his soul, only to lose the world?”


To me the entire eulogy is a murder of crows, squawking and screeching, with a voice hollow of promise and void of any hope.


By the way, the occasion we are celebrating would be my brother’s funeral.


As you will soon see, we are intertwined[4] and still, I am immune to the sanctity of such unresolved loss.  The departure, the rather abrupt departure, of my other half, my ‘con’ to his ‘joined’ so to speak.  (So young, so completely unaware of a world only recently joined now quickly vacated.  Having only recently breached our reality; my brother has obviously lost his rather tenuous foothold upon it.)

Up to this point I have wept many tears, of this I will not deny.  They drain from my eyes as quickly and as silently as my brother’s life slipped through the hands and fingers of my parents.

I weep even still.

I weep, even though I can feel their hands pressing in upon me, all those crowding behind, as if yearning, somehow willing to share in my grief, our grief, of a loss, our loss not theirs, only they wish to share in its rending, its ceaseless tugging upon our hearts.  Their version of grief batters our defenses, threatens to break down what walls we have built, constructs from being a family, from being together.

From being one

And it is this tragedy that they wish to share?  If so, they can have it for all I care.


And yet, I continue to weep, as if tears could somehow end the world’s ceaseless spin, I weep.  As much as Jesus wept over Lazarus[5], I weep.  And yet, through it all, my parents weep more; suffer more, for it is by their own hand we are here today.

What can I say, today is a dark day.  God willing it will end soon enough.

[1] In most instances a straight line is in a one-dimensional field, yet this very thing, the direction or straightness, lies relative to a defined length, constitutes a second dimension, and given a defined length, that being the first dimension, can cause a problem of division.  Transcendence of this first dimension can be solved only by the use of a negative quantity, which at once involves the imaginaries, –s and l-(-s), that plainly are parts, not by composition or inclusion, but by the reverse operation of exclusion.   B. H. Bode, The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. 5, No. 6 (Mar. 12, 1908), pp. 150

[2] A path is unto a path is unto a path… I do not even remember where I may have heard this comment, or if it is being correctly relayed, however I do know it makes just about as much sense as ‘it is what it is and it will take us where it takes us.’

[3] “Because light takes time to get here from there, the farther away ‘there’ is the further in the past light left there and so we see all objects at some time in the past.” Floyd Stecker of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

[4] As in twinned, to enhance, directly or indirectly influence.  Two joined as one.  A sharing of similar traits, beliefs, appearance and or genetics.  An unbreakable bond which can never be separated or severed. to be conjoined.   Two offspring resulting from a similar pregnancy, born in close succession.  Can be either MZ (monozygotic), colloquially identical, or DZ (dizygotic) colloquially fraternal or non-identical.

[5] Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”
The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”
Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”
The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”
Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”
Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”

Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?”
They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus wept.

John 11:1-16, 32-35


Author: S.M.Muse

Bestselling author S.M Muse writes, fun, action-packed adventures full of everyday magic, and darker than Mid-night foes. His characters are clever, fearless, and resilient, but in real life, S.M. is afraid of spiders, things that go bump in the night, and roughing it in the great outdoors. Let’s face it. S.M. wouldn’t last ten minutes in one of his books. S.M Muse is best known for his Heir of Nostalgia fantasy series, and soon to be Urban Contemporary thriller, The Summer People. Visit him at http://www.heirofnostalgia@gmail.com

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