Monday, August 05, 2013

Life Goes On ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

Our family has gone through some hard times lately. We’ve had sickness, misfortune and one of our nephews died way too young, but life goes on.

I was thinking about those things today when I drove through an area hard hit by the devastating tornados in April of 2011.

Up on a ridge high above the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River, where the storm scraped through the community, there were trees that were stripped of limb and leaf. After the storm, they looked like stone pillars jutting up from the clay.

But today as I drove through, those trees had leaves growing from their trunks. The tops of some of
them looked like green Afro wigs.

Further up the hill as I drove through the community, I realized that many of the houses that were swept away in the wind have been rebuilt. The houses that weren’t totally destroyed have been repaired. Most of the houses have new roofs.

It occurred to me that Sipsey is a living metaphor for the phrase, “Life goes on.”

It’s hard to think about this age-old wisdom when you’re in the depths of despair.

Our nephew, John Michael Greathouse, died a few weeks ago at the age of 47. He wasn’t a child by any means. In fact, he has grown children, but to my sister-in-law Pat, he was the baby, the only boy, and the first child she’d ever lost.

My mom lost two of her five children before she died. I once heard her say at my baby brother Darrin’s funeral, “A mother is not supposed to lose a child.”

A friend I worked with at MaBell had a son riding along with three other teens in a convertible on Interstate 459 in Birmingham when a baseball cap blew off one of their heads.

The driver braked, pulled to the shoulder before shoving the car into reverse, and racing backwards to fetch the hat. He lost control and the car veered tail end first into the path of a FedEx truck killing all four instantly.

My friend’s life changed in that moment and it’s never been the same again.

Even after five years, he still struggles with the loss.

We invited him to come hear Jilda and me play at a local coffee shop recently, and he looked well. It did me good to see him smile. He’d be the first to tell you that life goes on.

My lovely wife is an inspiration because she knows about hard times too. Even after 18 monthly infusion treatments for a defective immune system, she’s more driven now than she’s ever been.

The treatments knock her for a loop for a few days each month, but afterwards she’s back at work helping others deal with their demons at a local drug and alcohol treatment center.

We’ve also played more singer/songwriter events than ever before in the past. “If not now, when?” she asks.

Sitting in that big green treatment chair each month among people with conditions much more grave than hers has given her (and me) a unique perspective.

Looking at those trees today was comforting. It reminded me that no matter how bad things get, life goes on.


  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Life SHOULD go on, but sometimes people quit. I'm so glad you & Jilda didn't quit!!

  2. Continued prayers and blessings for Jilda....
    And, I've heard Mothers say the same thing that your Mother did about not we are supposed to lose a child. That has to be one of the most heart wrenching events ever...and losing a Grandchild would be just as bad, to me.

  3. I have missed reading your posts Rick... I'm back... it's true that life goes on...

    Sometimes it is hard to keep going but it always goes on:-)

  4. So true.Life always goes on.
    You walk a path many walked before you and many will tread behind you.
    Today they speak of parallel words you can escape to for a better life.So one never knows where or how life goes on, only believe that it does and every year we get closer to proving it.

  5. Thought provoking and so very true. Wonderful post Rick.

  6. When my nephew died in a car crash at age 18, it left a huge hole in my sister's heart and in our family. She puts on a brave face, but I know she still hurts 10yrs later. I don't know how she had the strength to go on. I see trials that are self made. I see trials that are just one's lot in life. I try to remember that even when we don't want the world to keep moving, someone's life is just beginning. Someone may be finding a cure for those green chairs, or writing a great book, or a song that will bring a smile to a face that hasn't worn one in a long time. Or perhaps a newspaper column to make you think.

  7. Hi Rick...I liked your column about life going on. How true that is. We get through the blackest of times. It's such a gift to be resilient. Susan

  8. True Rick. It is mostly through pain that we grow.
    The hardest experiences are the ones that make us stronger and more sensitive to other peoples' pain.
    Thank you for writing this post.

  9. Wonderful column Rick. Reading this makes me more thankful for what I have and what I've been through. We all hit some really rough spots in the road but we can get back up and keep going. My granny always told me that God would never let me tote a load that I couldn't bear.


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