Life is for the Living… by Jude Genereaux

21 04 2022

Life is for the Living …

How often have you heard that said? I’ve wondered what it actually meant at times, though my assumption is the genesis stems from an observance that grief should be kept in its place, lest it demand too much of a person’s consciousness.

So where is that healthy boundary, between missing someone so dear to your life, central to your very Being perhaps – and establishing new lives and habits?

Norbert felt the ties of family and friendship strongly. It took a long time for him to rebound from loss. When elder family members of the Blei and Papp families passed on, he maintained the traditions he was raised with as his way of honoring old country ways, including annual treks to cemeteries with flowers, taking time to be silent with memory, standing by tombstones in quiet groves. Some losses he never fully re-bounded from – after his Mother, Emily passed away, Norb’s ability

to relish and truly enjoy the Christmas season was indelibly changed, so strongly was her presence part of it.

Several of Norb’s dearest friends went too soon into the mysterious beyond – Ralph and Arlene come to mind; the days following their deaths were dark with loss. Way too many cohorts and personal mentors as well – Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, journalists, fellow writers and heroes who helped him become one with them. Norbert’s way was write about them – and he did.

How shall wehonor those gone missing in our life? How do we fill the holes left in our days and hearts when they are so huge, it seems life will never be as good again?

Some might admonish themselves that Life is for the Living (whatever that means), or Life Goes Onothers of us may talk of them, and to them, often. Many of our routines and habits become changed. We tend to tombstones, we share memories with those who care, some work of us work for foundations and projects that were important to those we’ve lost – all to honor them in ways we continue to be able to. A way to do something, for them.

And some of us write about them. Which to Norbert Blei, says L.O.V.E. in every sentence. This was his Way.

  • Jude Genereaux

April 23, 2022



2 responses

2 08 2022
Andrew Hidas

Lovely, thank you, Jude. Came here hanging onto Google’s tail chasing a William Stafford poem, didn’t find it, but instead found Norbert’s reflection on him and now yours on Norbert. I’ll track the Stafford down elsewhere, but am glad for this most rewarding byway.

23 08 2022
Paula Kosin

I am always mindful of the approach of August 23rd, and knew that your thoughts would already be here the evening before to be found. Jude, may you continue to be wrapped in Norbert’s love as the rest of his tribe continues to honor our beloved teacher in myriad ways. Mine? A book that integrates what I call “healthy grieving” practices with contemporary Catholic spirituality. The publisher has given a publishing date in early February, 2023. Every time I wrote a cliche, thanks to Norb, I had to stop and get rid of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: