Along for the ride:

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Book of Life does not always end well.

After my Sunday morning riding lesson, on Flash, because Mac was lame and PT wasn't where he was supposed to be, I checked my phone before leaving the parking lot. There was a message from The Artistic One's "Youngest Daughter Before Ours". Sylvie is a half dozen years younger than me and did a good job of getting to the point. "Please ask Papa to call. The news is not good. His brother Alan is deceased."
Alan; playboy, pimp, professional poker player, (cheater), night owl, ne'er do well. Did his heart give out or was it his liver? Past the age now when the obligation to repay a debt to "The Connected Ones" had him transporting stolen jewels across a border and spending Time in a Swiss jail. Aided in his escape by his wife but menaced into selling their apartment in Paris to settle the score. When we stayed at their Hotel around the corner from Le Moulin Rouge, the ornate, bird-cage elevator went up and down all night long and the "He's Who Would Be She's" were decorative additions to the sidewalk beneath.
Sylvie called again before I reached home. I pulled over to talk uninterrupted. Strangely, Alan has been dead for almost a week. Sylvie is just learning of this. At least she thinks to share the news. Alan was living in a little guest apartment in the back of his girlfriend's property. Impossible to heat in the recent cold weather, another brother Pierre had rented him a hotel room for a few nights. After morning coffee and croissants Alan went out to smoke the inevitable cigarette along the banks of the river. He never returned. A few days later, the body found five kilometers down stream was linked to the missing hotel guest by the sim card in his phone.
Thoughts of a fatal slip or fainting spell leading to an accidental  cold plunge, into the swirling waters, are swept away the next day by the news that he had mailed a letter to his wife. Varicose veins and an impecunious old age were an unthinkable footnote to the Story he wanted remembered.


  1. I have never really been speechless over a story of one's demise before. The entire story is bizarre. The book of life does not end well, indeed. Or was it even lived well in the first place? Sad, it is sad.

  2. A terribly sad end to anyone's life and hard for his family to understand . But I hope he's found peace .

  3. Very, very sorry for the loss to you and your family. It's hard and sad to imagine. Much love to you both.

  4. Birdie, Bizarre is probably the most apt description. It was all such a done deal before we heard about it. My husband isn't going to verbally express what he's feeling any time soon. We might see a future painting that gives some insight. My "Mind Reader" hat gets a lot of use.

    S&S, Unfathomable and shocking.

    Magpie, My husband is the oldest of four (now three) brothers. I'm sure there is an element of staring his own mortality in the eye in the thought process. It is weird that there is no funeral or family gathering to go to.

  5. I wonder what made him think that by topping himself, he would get to change his already written epitaph.
    My condolences to your husband and your family.

  6. Such a sad story. My sympathy to the whole family. Even though Alan was not the shining star, true family love knows no bounds.

    I have a feeling that sooner or later, your husband will express his feelings through his art. It's going to be beautiful.

    Wishing you all the best.

  7. Sad and unusual in equal measure. But it is the sadness that moves the most. My sympathies to you all.

  8. Wally, I think his future appeared devoid of all the things he felt validated his life, so he checked out.

    Jean, You are kind. We'll see.

    Steve, Thank you.

  9. It's a strange thing, especially for those left behind to do the thinking on it.
    My Great Aunt did the same thing, six weeks after her husband (my Great Uncle) passed away. She was always such a lively fun person, but fell into despair after he died. It's almost somehow a young person's death. I struggled a little at the choice, for an older person. But I suppose despair and the insistent continuum of life are felt more acutely in later years?
    I hope there will be some positive reflection for you both, at what otherwise would naturally be a very odd time.

  10. I have to admire the guts of someone who decides that if life can't be lived on their terms, they'll put an end to it. You certainly married into an interesting family.

  11. Sorry for your loss. This is a sad story I only hope the family left behind can come to terms with what he decided was best for himself. Best wishes to your husband and the rest of the family.

  12. Joanna, Your Great Aunt lost something she treasured and that seemed impossible to rebuild. I'm not sure Alan ever strove to create anything constructive. "Fun while it lasted" would be his epitaph.

    Deborah and Grey Horse, You both nailed it. It was always about him, but at least he assumed that truth.

  13. My condolences to you and your family.
    That's a very sad story. Life is a journey full of obstacles , and not everyone has the strength, the ability and will to overcome them until he naturally reaches the final destination.
    May his soul rest in peace!

  14. I feel for his wife as well as the rest of the family. I cannot imagine what she felt after receiving his letter. I hope your husband's artistic talents will help him express what he cannot put into words. I wish you all peace.

  15. I think it's always sad when the burden of life gets so heavy that there seems no other solution than to be rid of it altogether.

  16. Can't turn my back for a minute without some Fresh Hell breaking out, n'est-ce pas?

    Please convey our condolences to the Artist, yourself, and your Lovely Daughter. They are no less sincere for being offered tardily.

    Given the hurly-burly of the life that your BIL had lived, nothing about his death surprises me. I wouldn't want the varicose veins; the below-the-poverty-threshold level lifestyle; nor the freezing-ass-French-winter guest apartment behind the girlfriend's property for my old age either.

    Thus, should I find myself with any permutation of those conditions when I start crowding 80, don't count on me to hang around for some kind of "natural" death either. A living Hell is way worse, to my way of thinking, than an Insta-Hell...

    I do regret, however, for the Artist, you, and the family-at-large that you do/did not have the opportunity to participate in a wake to wish your dear departed safe arrival at his destination before the Devil knew he was dead. It would no doubt have done you all a world of good.


  17. Ms. Pliers, I had hoped that you would skip this post. I know your empathy is heart-felt. Thank you. I have a beginning of a notion to organize something around Alain's birthday. For now "WE" don't know when that is. To be contd...