There is the beginning of a lifetime, the seemingly forever experience of living through it, and finally the cessation of this life as we know it.

As in a book, play or movie, there’s always a beginning, continuation and an end to each. So also with this our lifetime story. 

Of course we often fantasize our own personal story as an exception to this rule. We somehow expect, hope and pray that our particular journey will go on forever and ever. 

And who knows but maybe it will. 

However it will not be with this physical body. It too has a cycle of start, continue and complete. 

What can you say to someone close to you when their loved one has passed?  

A story has ended. A chapter has completed. An entity has been here, made his or her mark, left footprints and memories in the fabric of time and has now moved along. 

A lifetime is like a leaf on a tree. It starts as just a bud, then bursts into new life. It lives in harmony with the sunshine, wind and rain. It eventually changes to a brilliant glow of color. Then it gently fades away. 

One can accomplish much in one lifetime and many do. One can gain experience, knowledge and wisdom in the process of living. One can grant life and living to others whose paths he may cross by sharing love. 

If his stamp or mark on time and space is considered special and remarkable  by others, then perhaps his existence, accomplishments and endeavors will be noted, recorded and remembered in some form. 

If he has known love in his lifetime, acknowledged, shared, contributed to and increased it, then I think his lifetime has been good and well spent. 

There cannot be endless starts and continuations without the corresponding number of conclusions. Cycles begin, progress and end. Seasons roll along. Life continues. 

A physical form is but a vessel one sails on in his or her journey through time. 

There are good times and bad. There is fair and stormy weather. There is the thrill of living, experiencing, knowing and loving. 

It appears to me that one does not often put the entirety of his or her lifetime into perspective while still living. I suppose it’s difficult to do if one can not envision a conclusion, a wrapped up and completed story. 

When someone accomplishes this realization I think they call it “closure”. I guess you could call it full circle or completed cycle. 

But all of life’s events like months, seasons and generations are like rings on a tree stump, completed circles.

As with leaves on a tree in a forest, there is never just one leaf. Nor is there one book or movie or play. There is an abundance of life in this world of ours. So many stories.

Life attempts to create a sizable impact on this physical plain. It enters this realm, creates an effect then departs. It leaves behind an imprint however large or small, glaringly real or faint. 

These modern lifestyles and comfortable conveniences all around us today were hard won by those who went before us. Through hard work, sweat and tears they created a better future not only for themselves but also for us to enjoy.

The product of one’s achievements live on in the form of highways, bridges, homes, farms, schools, churches and such. 

If one has been a positive force in his environment then he leaves behind more than physical structures and objects. 

It’s more of the quality of one’s character that is remembered and treasured in his story.

There are such things as pride, honor, trust and there is love.

Those we leave behind, in their farewell rituals, may go on about ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But you and I are neither ashes or dust. Those are but spent particles in physical form we have left behind. 

We have helped create a world, shape an environment, improve conditions of life, bring order into a chaotic world making it civilized and kind. 

It’s quite difficult to do all this of course in one lifetime.

So a story ends, and one more begins. 

Dan O’Connor can be reached at danhughoconnor@gmail.com