Dad, RIP

Dad, RIP

Last Breath

My brother, sister, and I sat around the bed our dad lay in watching each breath get more brief and shallow. It had been nearly six days of making sure there was no more pain, but that also meant there was no more ‘dad’ for us to connect with. I watched this once pivotal, bigger than life, story-teller of a man shrink and drift away.

Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale.

And then a long pause.

Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale. …

Another long pause.

We each placed a hand on him.

inhale. …

exhale. …

inhale. …

exhale. …

The vein in his neck stopped pulsing.

exhale. … …

We all looked up and said ‘good-bye’ as we imagined him finally being free of the pain he had suffered over the past year, both physically, and emotionally.

On September 2nd, 2017 at approximately 8:00 pm CST, my dad died.

The next hour or so was the three of us cleaning up the hospice room we’d been in for nearly a week, taking turns sleeping overnight, waking when his breathing changed, or chatting with family and friends who came to visit. But, to me, he had been gone for nearly a week.

With my wife and my brother-in-law present, both coming to hospice after dad’s passing, we said a prayer and a final goodbye as dad’s body lay in bed cool to the touch. We all left, and the funeral home people went in to take dad away for cremation. I decided to stay in the hall outside, while everyone continued to walk to the exit… except my wife who stayed by my side, holding me – just holding on to me.

I was his firstborn. I felt it my job to at least see his body taken away. Probably wasn’t, though. It was actually the first time I got choked up thinking about the fact that the man who had been there since the day I was born was really gone.

Denial

My feeling that this just couldn’t be happening had been going on for months. That there was no way dad could die from this stupid thing called cancer. His family genetics were strong and his own parents grew to be in their 80s and 90s, not a mere 74 years of age. His sister was sixteen years older and his brother, who had unfortunately passed away a little over a year earlier, was ten years older. How could dad die of cancer?

Where my denial came into play was only a few weeks earlier, just before the total eclipse of 2017 that was visible in the United States.

My dad had beat the cancer that had formed a tumor in his neck. Cancer was not a surprise. He was a weapon’s specialist in the Air Force during Vietnam loading up bombs, some of which were radioactive. He also smoked for years – apparently saying since he was fourteen, “But I’ve quit several times and can anytime I want,” he would tell us still smelling fresh cigarette smoke in the air.

There had been many issues as he had been in the VA system and from the time he was diagnosed to the time he started treatment was nearly three months or more. But we thought with the cessation of smoking, he’d have many years ahead.

There was no way he wouldn’t beat this too.

But a few months after finding out he had beat the throat cancer, they found spots on his lungs. His mental exhaustion kicked in. It was apparent he was tired of the process and had thought once he had finished the throat treatments, he could return to a normal semblance of life again.

Sunday’s were our time to ‘get out’ of the VA Retirement Home and grab a Dr. Pepper or snack and drive around town. While the conversations always started kind of negative, most of the time, by the end of the drive, there was hope and positivity.

When the treatment was to begin for the lung cancer, and dad’s physical issues really came into play: cataracts, on-going back problems, swallowing and refusing to even try to eat, receive physical therapy, or even speech therapy (for eating), I started to get really irritated with my dad.

How could he not do everything that was asked of him to beat the cancer?

Anger

Now here is where I vent.

We all were furiously frustrated with the VA System, the doctors, the hospitals, and many others for taking so long to get started. Once started, the process seemed overly complicated. My siblings and our spouses set up smartphone apps, email addresses, and more just to track all the medications, appointments, reports, logins, and crazy documents.

Dad would complain about the various staff, the doctors, the medications, the retirement home and staff, how he felt, the food, and many other things that escape me at the moment (or that I’ve blocked out).

All of us changed our schedules, missed meetings, missed days of work and home life. We tirelessly organized rides, made calls, and paid bills. All the while listening to our dad complain. ‘Was he always this way?’ I would ask myself.

His back hurt. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t taste anything. He couldn’t swallow. He couldn’t shower. On and on and on.

Compassion told me that he had isolated himself and needed connection.

Anger said he did it to himself. Sitting for ten to fifteen years in front of a computer, drinking beer, often smoking, not exercising, not eating well – or at all. He had ‘done everything’ he had wanted in life but did not participate in it at all. The few visits he had with his kids were generally relegated to us visiting him. His visits lasted an hour or so and he would leave.

Not always, mind you. He had engaged with us early on when he arrived after leaving his second wife in Canada. He joined a multi-level marketing company my wife and I tried involving ‘healthy’ chocolate. He even went out on some dates, but – from feedback we heard – they did not go well. He would go out to dinners, and events, and stayed active. Until he went to live by himself.

But I was angry because I knew if he didn’t do everything he could to beat the cancer, I would lose my dad. My dad who pushed me to do the hard things to be better. To follow the things you love to do. To experience the world. To – and here is where I get a little cheesy – seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before! Yes…he introduced me to Star Trek.

So when I got the call, after a particularly rough two weeks, that dad just wanted to go to hospice and die.

I was so angry I went numb.

Bargaining

“If only he hadn’t left mom and moved to Canada,” I thought.

“If only I had met up with him more often.”

“Made him get his back fixed.”

“Forced the doctors to start treatment sooner.”

“Been a better son.”

Yeah.  All that ‘bargaining’ and more went on and still does. But most of it goes back to wishing he had done things differently. I know that’s the selfish part, as now he’s not here to talk to, ask questions about the family, talk about heraldry, or just listen to his crazy stories. Stories, which we discovered after his passing, were what nearly all our friends in high school loved about coming to our house. Stories his friends shared.

I cannot recall a single fictional story, like short stories or novels, that he ever wrote, but I can recall a time my brother and I caught him making up a story to our sister’s boyfriend (way back in the day). It was the first time we caught him and it was huge for my brother and me to discover that, indeed, he made stuff up. He constantly defended his authenticity, but we knew the truth.

All that being said, I think the only thing I’d really like to bargain for is less for me and more for some of his friends and family. Too late we realized we could have used video calls to allow him some final words, but in the end, he said he was sorry. “I feel like I’ve let everybody down.” We tried to convince him we thought otherwise. And sad that one of his friends from high school drove nineteen hours to say goodbye only to find dad already drifted off in a morphine haze. He had said ‘no food or water’ and to bring him out of the drugged state would more than likely have been excruciating. His friend stayed for about three hours, visited with us, stood over dad’s hospital bed sharing some words, and left.

The trouble with dad’s oldest son is (as he writes briefly in third person), is that he knows what is right, why people do things they do, and can logically understand why his father made the choices he did until his death, but he feels let down – and guilty because of it.

Depression

This is not my first ‘death’ in the family.

Although I wasn’t as close to my grandparents, since they lived so far away in Pennsylvania, I still felt pretty sad. Though, if I’m honest, I think I felt more empathy for my parents at their loss.

My mother died twenty years earlier, suddenly. She had also struggled with smoking and severe alcohol addiction – one of the things that drove my dad away and had him file for divorce. We hadn’t ‘seen’ her for several years. Every encounter was a repeat of things discussed, or random slurred discussions we knew wouldn’t be remembered the next time we spoke. We were stunned when she showed up after a three-hour drive already intoxicated.

Luckily, after a second hospitalization due to extreme intoxication, an intervention with friends and family occurred and she went into rehab for several weeks. When she came out, it was the first time we had seen and heard our mom in years. She did the normal steps from those kinds of programs and apologized to us. We said, “We’re all still here, mom.” She looked and said, “Not all of you.” And we knew, she meant dad.

She had always said he had been a crappy husband but had been an awesome friend, and a great dad.

That year, several people she knew passed away. I attended a few of the funerals.

One week, mom called me at work. Busy, I told her I’d give her a shout that night. I didn’t call. I was watching a movie and feeling lazy.

Arriving at work early, I got the call she passed away the night before sometime. They were certain it was sudden. Sitting on the edge of the bed, one foot propped up on the edge, one on the floor, she was laying back with one hand on her temple – as if simply resting for a moment. I recalled the phone call and remembered she said she’d been fighting a bad headache.

The verdict was an aneurysm sometime after ten o’clock. About an hour or so later than when I said I’d call…and didn’t.

It was about two or three months later when I recognized that I wasn’t sleeping well, was breaking out into rashes, and otherwise feeling bad. I didn’t drink, at the time, but I did eat poorly.

Coming out of that experience, I know things to watch in myself for similar depression symptoms. I also know I’ve created an environment so stressful, that it is simply allowing me to avoid depression, sadness, and all the grief. I am careful in most other aspects, but part of writing this as a coping mechanism for what I’m currently feeling; hopelessness.

What’s it all for? What’s next? What am I supposed to do? How much time do I have left? My mom was 54 when she died. I’m 51 at the moment. Do I have another 23 until I reach dad’s age of 74? How can I motivate myself to do more? Be more?

Luckily, it’s all just ‘this moment.’ I’ve followed a fairly optimistic viewpoint in life. Maybe with a little pessimism. “Expect the worst. Hope for the best.” I heard…from dad, really. I have started three businesses in the past, endured heartbreak, loss, and failure. So, hopelessness for me is fleeting, but often crushing – only for a bit.

This phrase came to me while writing: As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life. I like that.

I wish dad would have believed it a little bit more.

Acceptance

This part has already come to pass.

While I don’t like accepting what has happened and will no doubt loop around the five stages of grief, I do accept it. Unlike my mother’s death, I was with my dad when he transitioned. I had better closure, I think.

Still so fresh in my heart, his passing, I still find times where I start to call him or think, ‘I should bring dad here,’ when I find a place or food he’d like. Reality quickly crashes back in, but not horribly. With my mom, it was more intense, but infrequent, and took a long time to heal. With dad, he made his choices, he lived his life, and he chose when he was done.

Mostly, and the whole reason I’m even slightly accepting of his passing is that I couldn’t stand to watch my dad suffer so much pain. My heart tells me that some of the pain he experienced was simply from numbing himself for years with beer, cigarettes, video games, and zoning out. That, in the end, he had to really feel all the things he had shoved away. Many conversations were had about mom, his leaving, his regret, and more. We’ll never really know what happened between our parents. Mom never really said. Dad only said a few things after mom passed, but they seemed – unimportant, somehow.

I’d like to think – envision – the two of them together as they were as teenagers. Before dad’s open heart surgery. Before mom’s struggles. Before money, fights, and struggles, that pushed them apart. Before their own parents passed. Even before us kids – though I know they loved us all.

No, I like to think of them back in their high school days, out with their science club on a hillside in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania on a dark night, their telescope out watching the stars, laughing, in awe, and thinking of a bright shiny future filled with possibilities.

Epitaph

David Earl Huber
Sept 30, 1942 – Sept 2, 2017
“See you in a bit” – Dave

Obituary
Facebook Memorial

On Pain

~ Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

Heading Back to Elementary School

Heading Back to Elementary School

Sometime between sixth grade elementary and seventh grade junior high, my father brought home a tape recorder that was designed for hearing or vision impaired students. It was bright orange and all the buttons were colored and had braille on them. But besides being such a vibrant styled tape recorder, it had two other unique functions: variable speed and play-in-reverse.

It was AMAZING! I could slow recordings down, speed them up, play them in reverse (slow or fast). But, being a fan of radio plays, record albums with stories, and most of all, the Orson Wells version of War of the Worlds radio broadcast, I was able to reproduce many of the cool effects I heard in audio recordings.

In sixth grade, having been recently exposed to Star Wars (which was life changing for me) and being a fan of Cracked and Mad magazines, I had started writing stories that were parodies of my favorite shows and movies. Specifically, a series of stories titled “Star Crack” about a goofball captain named Captain Joke and his trusty science officer Mr. Pimple. They were, of course, amalgams of myself,  my best friend at the time, and a couple of TV characters you may be able to guess. He, the funny class clown, and more popular was Captain Joke, and with my newly sprouting acne issues, and more academic mindset (not to mention my ‘by the rules’ activity that landed me as a Safety Patrol officer), I was Mr. Pimple.

I won’t bore you with the adventures of the USS Refuse (the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy) or their first trip to the planets Caramel, Chocolate and Nougat foiling the nefarious Klingtoes evil plot by creating “Milky Way” candy bars to make them all fat. NO! I won’t bore you with that or their other adventures, but I will tell you what happened as we entered seventh grade.

No, not the awkward teenage issues (there were many) or bullies (there were some…that all seemed to have the name Tony for some reason) OR the Friday night skating rink adventures. NO dear reader, I will tell you of the librarian who asked if my friend and I would be interested in recording our stories, creating art, and making slideshows to set up in the library in a listening pod.

I was SO excited and, of course, fearful of being judged. Honestly, and more precisely, I was fearful that my crush – who shall remain nameless – wouldn’t think I was ‘cool.’ Not that she ever did. But other people liked them. So I did a few more and kept writing odd stories ever since. But those audio programs were just plain fun.

Some 40 years later, I remember recording various sound effects with some electronics kit I had, a trip into a black hole that slowed time (and lowered voices), as well as creating echoing voices in the empty underbelly of the USS Refuse’s empty bowels (ewwwww).

All this reminiscing got me thinking about all the tools, software and experience in production I have. So, dear readers, I decided to transform one of my recent short stories into an audio program. Not quite an audio drama, but more than a simple reading.

Below is a culmination of about 8-10 hours of production (and a few more hours of brainstorming and researching). Of course, I’ll get faster as I learn. Already I’ve found some great podcasts, gotten some good information on equipment, and otherwise stupendous feedback on how to make each one better. I won’t lie. I’m not going to pull a George Lucas and keep rerecording stories, but I’ll try to learn as I go along.

I’ve been trying to write and post a new short story every month and am currently at tad behind due to, well, you all know… life.

I hope you all enjoy this audio version of Palengenesis. You can visit the link if you prefer to read. I’ve added the audio version on that page as well.

Palengenesis

by Eric Huber | Stories from the Edge

Notes: I found a photo and video showcasing what is referred as a book player from the Telex corporation circa 1975-76


© 20016 Eric Huber. Palingenesis is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Artwork by Eric Huber

©2017 Audio recording by Eric Huber. Music from FreeMusicArchive.org | Kwartet Japonski I by Maciej Żołnowski | The Warbird EP by Tri-Tachyon | Additional audio from NASA

2017 Theme: Accepting the Glass is Half Empty Too

2017 Theme: Accepting the Glass is Half Empty Too

2016 was rough, ya’ll.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, and I won’t go on a diatribe listing what all happened. Because, really, some GOOD things happened along with all the bad. SOME good things came out of SOME of the bad as well.

But here’s something I haven’t shared and that doesn’t often present itself in public: I’m angry a LOT.

Not that kind of angry that I take it out physically on others, and don’t always lash out verbally. More of an internal rage that builds and builds until I feel like my head is going to explode. Sometimes, and more and more often, because of all the anger, I DO lash out much more vocally than my reputation of cool-headedness would otherwise be the norm. I can think of three instances that I wish had not.

Now, here’s the thing; I research, I try new things, I listen to stuff, I read, and more. All this to try to understand WHY I’m so angry a lot. I’ve sat in a group to exorcise it. I’ve drawn images and burned it. I even tried stuffing it WAY DOWN DEEP inside into a little ball and forgetting about it (just kidding…sorta).

One thing I read said, ‘anger lets you know when boundaries are being crossed.’ That held some truth, but it wasn’t really hitting the mark.

So what the heck? WHY DO I GET SO ANGRY?

Anger Sharks by Eric Huber
(based on a line from Anger Management)

Another Disappointment

Christmas is, traditionally, the beginning of fun, family, friends and time off from work from my business. A time to recharge. A time to plan for the next year. To set goals. To reconnect. To… relax.

This year, as part of the whole 2016 debacle, there was loss of a relative, a loss of a friend, and I got sicker than I have been in many years basically putting me down for nearly the entire break. The GOOD was that I did get to enjoy Christmas and felt a little better to be with friends and my sweetie on New Years Eve. But overall, it was a bust for what I had hoped for.

But a strange thing happened over the break. A random video popped up on a non-account YouTube channel that presented a title that gave me pause: “How Not to be Angry All the Time.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. Of COURSE I watched it.

And MAN did I disagree with it. A lot!

But there was something about it. Some nugget of wisdom. And I decided to stay open with it and ‘play’ with the idea.

Might watch it and then read more of what I’ve decided to try…

PESSIMISM? Really?

I’ve nearly always been a glass is half full, or even the funnier, “Even if the glass is empty, you can refill it” kinda person. My philosophy has been, “Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.” I always thought that made me a pessimistic optimist… or an optimistic pessimist.

But this video is saying that my anger is all from being disappointed that my deep deep hopes are being crushed by reality. That I should just accept that everything is horrible in the world and be a pessimist and life will be better.

I disagreed, as I said above, a lot. But I decided to stay open and see when I got angry and why.

Low and behold, I got angry when things didn’t go as I had ‘hoped’ or ‘planned’ for them to go.

What does this mean for my persona? My very soul!?? Do I need to become a pessimist to be happy?

 

Going to the Well

So… I researched, asked questions, even talked to my dad (who, most likely, was a source of my optimistic pessimism). Within a few conversations, people disagreed, but then came back to an interesting point. And, to my surprise, it was my father who said, after confessing he got the same message from his dad, “Maybe instead of ‘Planning for the worst and hoping for the best,’ it’s more of ‘Planning for the worst and accepting whatever happens.'” (I may have paraphrased). Accepting what ‘is’ then?

Realizing this sounded familiar, a friend said, ‘That’s Buddhist; Acceptance of what presents.” And my smart, learned, lovely wife shared, “You should let go of how you think things should be and accept them as they are.”

Man, they all pissed me off!

Just kidding.

 

The Theme, Then…

No, I’m not going to be pessimistic in life, but I think I understand. I believe I have, in some situations, adopted that belief.

The video says, “Despite all life experience proving otherwise, Fred has a deep deep hope that…” he’ll get the outcome that he wants. And when he doesn’t, he gets angry. I’ve experienced that with airline flights and I now expect that I will always have a delay. I don’t. But I expect it now. My reaction if it is delayed is simply, ‘meh.’ And when it runs on time, ‘cool!’

My theme for the year is to do my best to see situations as they really are, to listen to people where they really are, and to look at myself, where I really am. The glass is half-empty, sure. It is also half-full. Plus, it is a glass, and can be emptied and refilled. That’s how glasses work.

Here’s to an amazing year ahead. But if it’s not, that’s okay too.

Whoa. This might just work.

Theme for 2016: “Why Not?”

Theme for 2016: “Why Not?”

2015 was an interesting experiment in goal setting. It was more about focus and theme vs specific goals. However, I did have one specific mandate for my business and that was profit. Yes, part of my ‘theme’ for the year, but it was a very pointed and specific goal. I actually hired a business coach and stopped trying to just have my business partner and I try to figure things out. We also worked on brining in strategic partners and that made a difference as well.

It was a success. And I’m stupendously happy about that aspect.

Not that I want to put a damper on success, but certain personal troubles occurred specifically around automobiles. Some good. Some bad. Lost a car. Got a car. Lost a car. Got a car. Very odd and unexpected all scenarios.

But even more than that, I started hearing phrases that started rubbing me the wrong way. Why? Did they raise doubts in my own goals and convictions?

Yes, they did.

  • “I would never want to be a millionaire.”
  • “I wouldn’t want to have a company that big.”
  • “All big companies are just greedy and taking advantage of the common Joe.”

The first thought that popped into my head has been, “WHY NOT?”

Why WOULDN’T you want to be a millionaire, have a big company, and are you sure that big companies are greedy? Or is it that you don’t understand business? Do you feel it’s better and more noble to serve people in a soup line and look them in the eyes or to be a business owner who has managed to make money enough to pay for hundreds of meals for those same people?

We bitch and moan about corporations like Walmart and others and still go shop there for the low prices. What a bunch of hypocrites! Now…those that complain and don’t shop, bravo!

The fact is we live in a capitalist Republic that runs on money. Play the game or get out. And while I agree it’s not the most just system, with a little effort you can make changes that work. Until we figure out a way to move to a resource based economy posited by The Venus Project, these are the rules we have to play within.

But I digress, as usual.

Why NotWe give ribbons for participation these days. I say find ways to question, think differently, challenge the status quo, and learn from past successes and failures. In 1984, I was picked as one of top ten seniors who the faculty believed would go on to do great things. Have I?

As I hit level 50 in a few weeks, this is the question I keep coming back to. What have I done to make people’s lives better? What have I done to help others. How have I made a dent in the Universe?

So, my theme for this year when offered big opportunities is simply…

‘WHY NOT?!’

Play big or go home.

Can I sustain? I have no idea.
Can I help everyone I want to? Probably not.
But if I don’t try, I know I won’t.

Creative Connections 0002

Creative Connections 0002

I should really have shared more creative connections since October of 2014 when I posted my first connection, but… Cie la vie!

Creative Connection 0002: Why People ‘snap’ so much in the USA.

Oh, sure, there is violence and craziness everywhere in the world. I won’t disagree. But today I saw a connection that our craziness is due to the fact that we have created a society of antagonistic living.

What do I mean by “Antagonistic living?” I mean we are bombarded by conflicting messages telling us what is good and right, what is fun and adventurous, what is achievable and imaginable, followed by how each can be bad and wrong.

  1. Ads for dieting and ads for ‘lobster fest’ back to back.
  2. Work hard or you are a loser. Live life to the fullest or you’re a loser.
  3. Sex is bad. Sex is awesome.
  4. Religion makes you feel great to be part of something bigger. Religion tells you are born in sin.
  5. Buy our cigarettes. FDA says, “Learn the real cost of smoking.”
  6. Love one another. Hate people who are different than us.
  7. “Why’d he hit me, momma?” “Oh, that little boy probably likes you is all.” “Why does my husband beat me?”
  8. Rich people are evil. Please donate to our cause so we can help others.

Antagonistic Confusion

I could go on and on, but it’s these same things make me feel crazy as well.

But I’ve been told, nothing can MAKE you feel anything. It’s the way I interpret these events.

Well…I feel crazy…sometimes.

How about you?

What We Leave Behind

What We Leave Behind

Stones from Post What We Leave Behind

As I walk in nature, I often come across an abandoned camp site or a pile of stacked stones and I think about the people who had been there before me and left traces behind from their visit. Granted, the hiking trail is a constant reminder of years of use and people leaving impressions behind and I am aware of this too.I heard someone talk about the story and adventures of Gilgamesh the other day

Readers may know that mythology is an interest of mine as well as lost civilizations. There are so many traces of civilizations that have fallen, disappeared and been rediscovered, that last week alone saw at least three major discoveries of the ancient world. Tombs. Temples. Caverns. While some people go out and shout “Ancient aliens must have built these things!” I personally believe we are smart, creative and tenacious enough to do some pretty amazing things on our own.

How Long Does It Take to Lose a Civilization?

Life After People ImageI was fascinated by a show called Life After People, a few years back, that explored how our modern civilization would fair over 10,000 years if we all vanished. To see a major collapse of buildings and bridges after two hundred years was stunning. To see how many things vanished over 2,000 was amazing. And to see how only the largest structures would still be seen after 10,000 was humbling. Nothing, save the Hoover dam, the great wall of China and the Pyramids would be recognizable. Nature is pretty persistent.

Epic of GilgameshRecently, I heard someone talk about the story and adventures of Gilgamesh. They said that Gilgamesh was searching for immortality, although I haven’t been able to confirm this. The speaker was saying how that he ended up achieving a kind of immortality as his story has been passed down for thousands of years and continues on today. Gilgamesh, according to an entry in Wikipedia, was an actual historic figure as a king of Uruk, Mesopotamia, around 2800 and 2500 BC. But he is also the main character (two-thirds god and one-third human) in a Mesopotamian poem titled the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is considered the first great work of literature.

We are constantly finding more ancient sites ranging back 11,000-12,000 years or more. We were supposed to be simple farmers and nomads, but archeologists are finding full ruins buried beneath sand and dirt. Golbekli Tepe is one such site. More are being found in Peru and across the globe.

Geologist Dr. Robert Schoch (mentioned often on this blog), dated the Sphinx at 10,000+ years. A striking contradiction to the 4-5,000 years that Egyptian historians stick to as it’s age.

But why does it matter what we leave behind?

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
~ Pericles (495 BC-429 BC)

Footprints left behindAs I approach a half-century mark in years, I think about what I’m leaving behind. For a while, people were trying to convince me that we shouldn’t leave anything behind. Zero Carbon Footprint was a movement going around. It honestly pissed me off. I was born here and have a right to live. And while I tried to build more than destroy, the movement was almost saying that I shouldn’t exist because I was destroying the Earth. I have calmed down. I understand the goal. But I refuse to shrink.

Why does it matter so much about what we leave behind? For me, it’s easy. While the Ancient Greeks would ask about someone who passed away the question “Did they live with passion?” I think what I wonder most about is, “Did I make a difference?”

That is probably the biggest thing I think about looking back on my days is “Did I matter?” In the grand scheme of things, did my existence help, hinder or do nothing for our planet and the universe?

Now, many readers may say, “Huber, you’ve got many many years to go! Why so glum?”

Luckily, I am not glum at all. Rather, I want to consider that the next half of my life (should I be so luckily) is even better and more meaningful than what has come before.

Words, actions, and how you affect the world around you by your actions seem to last much longer than buildings (with a few exceptions from antiquity). I have discovered that I have helped many people in my life and didn’t even know it. I remember when I was growing up, unsure about my place in the universe or what God might have in store for me, I would often say, “God, I know you put me here for a reason that may not be anything more than to help someone across the street some day in the future, but would it be okay if I could stay around a little longer afterwards and explore and play?”

I’m not sure if I’ve done what I’ve come here to do yet. I have some new ideas. In the long run, whether we only leave behind footprints in the sand that are washed away by the tides of time or we create or inspire epics of song, story or poetry to be written that echo through millennia, we should share our gifts with others. Whatever talent, love or passion you have, do that as much as you can and you will end up weaving your essence into the lives of others and ripple outward and forward in time.