"Everyone says they couldn't handle it if they lost a parent. The reality is we all get our turn." -Samax Amen

I was looking through an old e-mail conversation with a young artist and found these comments I made about death and dating. At the time, my wife's grandfather was in ICU and we were all "hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst" so I guess I was just feeling deep or something.  Even though these were my comments, I was encouraged a lot as I reread them...

"[Learning to cope with death] is part of growing up. My dad died in 2005. It was very tough. Everyone (including me) says they couldn't handle it if they lost a parent.
The reality is we all get our turn."

"I'm pretty philosophical about it at this point.
I only knew one grandparent. When she passed, I felt like God/Heaven came down a little bit. 'She was the ceiling of my universe, and now she is gone'. Then I looked around and realized that I was not a kid anymore. Being around my Nanna made me feel like I was still young, but I'm not.
Time was marching on, and Nanna went with it. I looked around and there were new grandkids. Now I'm an uncle. A father. My big sister is a grandparent. Heaven/ Death had not come closer to me. I was getting closer to it.

WTF?! I'm not ready to be one of the 'grown folks'! I make comics, dammit!

I gave up being manly about it and cry hard whenever I need to. Plus, I hug my mom until I think she's gonna pop every time I see her.
I love all the family members and friends I have buried over the years as if they were right here with me. Because they are to some extent.

And I remember to love my wife. To not be mad at her one second longer than I have to be. I praise my daughter and take her to see family even though I would rather lock myself in a closet and draw.

I try to encourage people the way my Nanna and my dad encouraged me.

I enjoy life, even when it's not exactly what I want it to be. Because at any moment, it can be over."

Giving up on dating...
"I did the same thing. Only once I really put myself on the road I wanted to be on career-wise did all that other stuff fall into place.

I remember talking to a platonic lady-friend about dating (how I didn't really date) and love and all that. The more I talked, the more confused she looked. By that time, I was starting to get some attention as an artist by the local community, participating in an art collective and doing freelance with most of my clients being on the internet.

I told her I was not dating anymore, because dating does more to prepare you for divorce than to prepare you for marriage. I concluded that I would focus on being myself, and build my life around my art. I knew that it might mean I would not look all that attractive to women, but I would be happier if I did life my own way.

'But don't you want to have kids?' she asked.

'I would, but if I gave up on myself to do it, I don't think I could be a good parent. And who needs another bad parent?'

'Do you think you would want to have kids without getting married?'

'Absolutely not.'

'Well, how are you going to get married if you don't date?'

'I don't know. I'm not really worried about it. I spent years worrying about it and I can assure you: It didn't help.'



So, I encourage you to focus on your work and don't worry about the future. It will happen when it is good and ready."

I'm married now, and have a daughter, so I feel like I did the right thing, but I guess that's debatable, right? Anyways, I hope you find these comments helpful, or at least entertaining. Feel free to respond via comments or email.

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