Saturday, June 8, 2013

When a detour becomes a journey

WOW! Has it really been more than a year since we posted? Time is indeed a terrifying concept. Sometimes I wonder if we, as humans, really know how to track it accurately? 2013, this was supposed to be our year--the year we left it all behind and took to the open road. Our schedule had us pulling out of Bunnlevel, North Carolina on June 14 and heading north to Michigan to visit with family and friends.
After a few weeks, surely no more than 4-5 weeks, we would then be headed west with our 5th wheel, two hounds and the Dodge Cummins. Our first stop would have been Madison, Wisconsin were we would vist my friend Mark Sobrilsky. I met Mark in 1997 when I moved to Madison to "find" myself. He was just 23 and moving out on his own for the first time. I lived with Mark for 12 months as his personal attendant. Though he was extremely independent, his cerebreal palsy prevented him from being 100% independent. We would have taken the Metro Bus to State Street and connected with other old friends near the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. But, one night in April 2013, I googled my friend's name and found an obituary. Seems he went out one night to the student Union on the UW campus. He was strolling along the edge of Lake Mendota just outside the Union. By some strange twist of fate, Mark "fell" from his power wheel chair into the water and drown.
Suddenly, the obvious was all too plain to see. Ovcer the past several years, many of Mark's friends have died. Though I was never given an official explaination from Mark, other than Ricky's died last week at camp in the Dells, or Eunice died last year after being in the hospital for several weeks recovering from some mysterious illness, I saw the blantant truth staring me right between the eyes.
Back in 2010 MArk had been hit by a car while crossing the street. Then I had no proble seeing the truth. Not many people cross East Washington at Reindahl, particularlly since there is nothing on the otherside a guy in a wheelchair needs to get to at 10:00 p.m.
Though I had been told that night was an impromptu suicide attempt, I wanted to believe Mark was just at a bad place at the time. But as I read the November obituary, it was obvious Mark had never gotten past that bad time. It was then that I "knew" Ricky's death was probably hastened by his own hand as well. Mark was always pre-occupied with the idea of suicide. He was all but convinced he was destined to the fate since his father had also used suicide as a way out when Mark was just 21.
I mention this now, both as my way of acknowledging Mark's life and those of Ricky and the others who were regulars on State Street every summer in Madison, but to also highlight how drastically life's plans can change. How we are constantly faced with choices and decisions we might otherwise have never thought possible. We accept choices that are not always in our best interest because we have decided for whatever reason tomorrow brings with it too much uncertainity? Too much pain? Too much embarassment? Too much ridicule?
So we look for alternatives to make iurselves feel better or that will show our superiority over the conditions life has laid before us.
When all we relly need to do is make new plans and start all over again--one more time.

As for Mark Sobrilsky and Ricky Olson, I miss you guys everyday and wish we had one more day.

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