CONVERSATION PIECES XIX: THE PROCESS
By: Wayne Brown
(Writer’s Note: This is #19 in a series I call “Conversation Pieces”. This is a series in which I attempt to insert myself into the mental processes of others and convey their perspectives. The piece in no way represents any frame of mind or plan which I have with regard to myself…take it as it is offered…simply fiction.)
If you must know, I have been thinking about it for quite some time now. Not a lot at first but then a bit more each time the thought crossed my mind. At first, it was a decision that had to be made or decided…simply that. Whatever became of it from that point on would depend entirely on that step. Choose A and do this or Choose B and just forget about it as there is no further action required. So, to be honest, I first had to confront my mind with the idea and make a conscious decision as to which way things would go. Once I was convinced that I needed to take that step, I simply weighed the alternatives and made the decision. I chose “A” so further actions were required.
I suppose you could say that is when I really began to get into it once the decision was actually made. Once I made the choice the follow on actions were clear; it was just a matter of prioritizing them as to which would be decided first, second, and so on. The plan began to take shape very clearly and with each choice the remaining decisions to be made became more and more defined in my mind. It was as if I had a voice guiding me through the process and helping me to make the proper selections.
I was convinced that I first had to weigh the impact that I wanted to have as a result of the choices. How can I explain this? Take for example a bride planning her wedding. She can select a major church, invite hundreds of people and have multiple functions both before and after the ceremony. Money becomes the limiting factor in how extravagant the whole thing can be. So, if one can afford such things, a significant social statement can be made that may be talked about or used as a reference for years and years.
On the other hand, this young bride, regardless of how much money she has at her disposal, may value her own emotion and the privacy of the event in terms of how she wants to remember it and have it captured for future memory. She may elect a quaint little out of the way church in a grove of trees out in the countryside and invite only the closest of friends and the immediate families. The setting would be cozy and warm. It might have very little impact on society but, for those present at such a private affair, it would be memorable. So, as you can see from the example, deciding about the statement or impact one wants to achieve is crucial to the success of the purpose.
Getting past that decision, then other decisions quickly become more logical. What time of day would be best? Would morning light be preferable over the rays of setting sun? How about the season of the year….springtime with the birds singing or just in the early fall season of Indian summer when the leaves are beginning to turn and there is a crisp chill in the air. The timing of the event will most certainly reign almost as high as the desired impact in the planning.
Then of course one must decide who if anyone should attend. Would it be better to invite folks or simply announce the event at some late hour and see how many can pull themselves together to show up. They say your true friends are the ones who will show up when it seems all but impossible for the others to try. Maybe such an experiment has value once one has viewed the results.
There is also the matter of "how". You know, most things can be approached in a scenario that addresses the “what”, the “who”, the “when” and the “how”. Then there is also the “why” which may be only an after effect to a particular situation. I mean really, if someone is getting married, do you really need to answer as to why that is the case? I don’t think so. But “how” is quite important. If one is going to paint a house, the first thing that might be asked after deciding the colors is “how”…how are we going to paint it? Will we use a brush or will we spray the paint onto the surfaces. This is a very important step in the overall process.
So, as you can see from the point of this discussion, I have considered the various avenues of thought in my process of thinking this event through and certainly have attempted to address each particular area with the utmost of detail. By doing so, I hope that if the question of “why” does arise, the details covered in the other areas may go to great lengths to provide a proper explanation. One can only hope.
As I said earlier on, I chose “A” and accepted the subsequent actions associated with that decision. I have given due diligence to that process and made my choices wisely and in a fashion that all who witness the occasion will understand with ease. They say we hold funerals for the living because the dead are already gone. I think that statement holds a lot of water and is a very wise observation. So, one could conclude, that a very well-planned funeral would leave those of the living in a state of mind that they would be able to embrace the loss of the loved one and move on with their lives closing the gap between that moment in time and the moment at which death would come knocking on their own door. They are able to see that and accept it as a result of a well-planned funeral.
Now please do not let me confuse you here with all my ramblings and examples. I will not be getting married and as such I certainly would allow my future bride to make those all important decisions which will bring forth the memories which she would so cherish. I might also add that a funeral is not something which I have any interest in planning either…not for myself or anyone else for that matter. There is really no message I would elect to convey via the funeral process. They have never provided any real answers for me so how could I expect that the planning as such would answer anyone else’s questions as to the future of life. No, no…these were simply examples which I have put forth in the hope that you will see that there is a process going on here. Once you realize that, you will be able to convey it to others. That step is important in that it shows that nothing was ill-conceived or carried out in haste. There was a plan and it was simply executed by the designated steps in order to achieve the goal.
The event will take place on a Saturday evening about 10 PM in the evening probably after some steady drinking from the open bar which will be set up on the gazebo in the backyard. That takes care of the “where” and the “when” of it all. The “who” will be me of course as I can not plan such a venture for anyone other than myself? The “how” will be a .357 caliber nickel-plated pistol strategically placed into the cavity of my mouth such that it will most certainly accomplish the desired task with considerable reliability.
Then, of course, we come to the “why”. You might remember that I stated earlier that the “why” was sometimes self-explanatory simply in the detail of the planning. I would like to think that would be the case here but maybe it will not. I could leave a note as an explanation which also might carry a lot of weight in answering the likely question as to my state of mind at the time of the event. I thought about that and I even started writing the note. But I cannot finish it. I cannot find the words to relate what I want to say to those who will question my actions. I cannot find a way to tell them “why” but surely they will all see the detail which has gone into my planning and selection in this process and realize that I took these steps very carefully from the decision point forward. That seems to me to be a likely explanation as to “why”. There was a process to be executed. I executed it, made the decisions, the choices and put the process into motion. Once the wheels are turning who am I to try and stop it. That would be crazy. Why would I undermine my own plan?
Some will say that it was the loss of dear, sweet Jean. Others will speculate that it was the stress of living alone after she had suffered for so long only to die. Those qualified to say so may speculate that I was depressed in such a way that even I could not know the depths of the blackness into which I had descended. All of that and more will come forth in the days that follow. Everyone will be searching their mind for just the right answer to the “why”. Of course I know that it was not any single one of those things…maybe a combination, but surely not a single one which brought me to this decision. I understand that as clearly as I understand the spelling of my own name yet I also know that all will sooner or later believe that my mind was in another place when I made this choice. They will come to that place in the road with or without a note and the conclusion which they come away with will be their own…one not to be shaped by me.
No, I see no reason to leave a note. Each one who cares enough to wonder will have to come to their own terms with why I did it. Most of them will try to find something noble in my actions because I have been a good friend and companion all our days. That’s fine if they get there on their own and feel confident in that choice. I cannot put those words in their minds or suggest what they should think. I can only elect the choices which are mine to make and see that they are carried out with the proper precision to achieve the desired result. What could be anymore simple than that? I am sure they will all figure it out at the funeral.
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3 Jan 2012