There are all kinds of Anniversaries … by Jude Genereaux

19 04 2018
Norbert Blei et Sandburg's Birthplace

Norbert Blei et Sandburg’s Birthplace

There are all kinds of Anniversaries …

Some are dark. Some hover over us, follow us about, rest on our shoulder like puffy clouds of longing and memory. April 23rd is a major accompaniment in my life.

I heard a program recently on “Radio Lab”/ NPR on the topic of death and the afterlife. And what it means in our culture. How we deal with it. How we honor it.

What I took away with me was a work of David Eagleton’s, commenting on the beliefs of another culture that death comes to us three times. The first is when the spirit leaves the body and we witness the change that instantaneously comes … the stillness, the peace, the release of “what was”. If we’ve been blessed to be with the one we love when they fly free, that moment will never be forgotten, but treasured in the very depth of our soul.

The second death comes when the body that is left behind is taken from us in the act of burial, and the remains cared for in whatever manner our beliefs lead us to. We then have nothing left but tombstones, our destinations for grief, and our memories. The final commemorations of honor and love.

But then comes a third death – this reported final death is marked by “that moment sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” This notion comes from Eagleman’s essay on the afterlife, “Metamorphosis”, which goes into detail describing the waiting time between first and last deaths, and his imagining of meaning.

For as notable a writer as Norbert Blei – I envision he will be in this waiting zone for a long time to come. His written work, his teaching and the impact he made on his communities, both in Chicago and Door County, will live for years yet to come. He left behind a loving family and legions of readers, students and friends who love him. His writing studio – the very Coop itself – will bring others to know and honor our Norbert. He may even become weary of “waiting” … anxious to move on to the next mystery.

Norbert left us on April 23, 2013, but remains alive in ways of the heart and soul where we hold our Beloveds, forever. I will remember to say his name out loud every breathing day left of my own life. — Jude Genereaux

“The love between two people when confronting death
is a force of nature nothing can take away from them.”
~Dr. Ira Block WPR



17 responses

19 04 2018

Thank you for this timely message. We just said goodbye to a family member this morning. I will remember to speak her name.

19 04 2018
Alice DAlessio

I can’t get the rest of it… A.


19 04 2018
Maja Jurisic

Jude, There’s a lovely Japanese movie called Departures that follows a young man as he moves from Tokyo to a small town in northern Japan and gets a job that he thinks has to do with the travel business, but is in fact preparing people for burial. The traditional Japanese rituals he learns that are used to prepare people to be sent off are quite beautiful, and the members of the various families whose loved ones he works on find solace and healing in participating in these rituals. I’ve described it badly, but it’s a deeply moving film.

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

i will mark this down to see … thanks Maja … . see you in the beloved village.

19 04 2018
Tim Stone

Thank you Jude! I shall never forget April 23, 2013.

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

You were there. You and Bridget — last to be with Norb & I … I will never forget this either. ~shantih~

19 04 2018
Albert DeGenova

Thank you, Jude. Yeah, he’s still with us…hope he never gets tired of waiting.

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

Love you Al.

19 04 2018

He is with me whenever I sit down to write.

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

There he is — that settling, seating, presence on your shoulder … yes.

19 04 2018
Hope McLeod

Dear Jude, you have expressed your self so vividly on a subject many of us just shy away from for fear of being sucked into this black hole of unknowingness. Such bravery. I weep for your loss and your joy for having loved this man so deeply and for so long, both here and beyond. Hugs

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

You would have LOVED him too Hope — so many of us did. ~Shantih.

20 04 2018
Eden DeGenova


20 04 2018
Paula K

Miss him. Frequently. Enjoy every opportunity to celebrate his life and work. And though we are all at a distance, we continue to walk with you, Jude, in our shared grief. As he used to say, “Nazdar!” Be well!

21 04 2018
Jude Genereaux

You got it … you know it Eden.

22 04 2018
Jean C.

I still miss the thoughts I could share with him, late at night, always by email, and always answered . . . in time. . . his time! Jean C.

22 04 2018
Tom's Jude

I have several reminders around: photo of Norb and Tom when Norb interviewed Tom for “The Man Who loved Sister Bay;” first Christmas card after Tom died; you with Captain Blei; Norb, Tom and Al at Coyote Roadhouse; photo of Norb in the Coop; most of his books. I showed my accountant/friend my Door County shelf when she stopped by last week. She said the photo of Norb in the Coop reminded her of her Father, also an accountant. Indeed Norb’s name will be spoken for years to come!

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