How many times?

How many times have I stared off into the distance, remembering all that happened? How many times have the memories of those I’ve lost come crashing back into my mind, spawning a torrent of sorrow and tears? How many times have I wished I had said so many things to them before they died? How many times have I played the “what if” game to change the outcome of what happened? How many times have I wished death took a physical form that I could take my revenge upon? How many times have I seen their faces, heard their voices, in my dreams?

Far too often. Far too many times.

I can never fully turn my gaze forward, for what is left behind me beckons and calls me, taunting me, haunting me. That which I dreaded all of my life has come to pass, with greater injury and malice than I ever imagined. For I not only have lost my parents, but my sister too. So now here I am, the lone survivor, cast into the lonely ocean of tears. Spending every waking moment alone, with no-one to live for. My boat is tossed upon the waves of yesterday and I fight to hold on with every ounce of strength. No island, no sanctuary, can bring the peace I seek. The ghosts of my family follow me everywhere I go, and from that gray realm of death they look upon me as I suffer in torment and sorrow. They look upon me not with anger, malice, or hatred – but with love. For they know the weight of this lonely life that crushes my heart. They know how many times I have stared off into the distance, remembering all that happened. They know how many times those memories of loss have come crashing back into my mind, spawning a torrent of sorrow and tears. They know how many times I have wished I said so many things to them before they died. They know how many times I’ve played the “what if” game, hoping to change the past. They know how many times I have wished death took a physical form that I could take my revenge upon. They know how many times I have seen their faces, heard their voices, in my dreams.

Far too often. Far too many times.


We are born to die

On December 18, 1799 George Washington was laid to rest, and during his funeral an oration was given by Dr. Elisha Cullens Dick (1762-1825) – one of the doctors who tended Washington as he lay dying. This speech moved me in many ways. It opened my eyes to the reality that one day I’m going to die. It’s not something we should be anxious about or worry about. But it is something we should prepare for. Everything we do in this life is vain, it will all turn to dust eventually. It cannot be eternal. But within each of us is an eternal soul – something that has the opportunity to survive death. The only way it can survive is through the truth that is laid out in the bible. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me shall have eternal life.” But it’s more than just saying “Oh sure, I believe in Jesus!” It must come from the heart, and more importantly one must live their life the right way. This speech by Elisha Cullens Dick really opened my eyes that I need to be far more diligent than I have been with regards to being a disciple of Christ. Life is unpredictable. You can be fine one day, the next you can be dead. George Washington experienced just that kind of death. He was fine and less than two days later was dead from a throat infection that essentially suffocated him.

So here’s that speech that was given. It rings with great truth and a warning that we need to pursue our eternity with greater attention.

Here we view a striking instance of the uncertainty of life and the vanity of all human pursuit. The last offices paid to the dead are only useful as lectures to the living, on them we are to derive instruction and to consider every solemnity of this kind as a summons to prepare for our approaching dissolution, not withstanding the various mementos of mortality with which we daily meet. Not withstanding that death has established his empire over all works of nature. Yet, through some unaccountable infatuation, we forget that we are born to die. We go on from one design to another, add hope to hope, and lay-out plans for the employment of many years until suddenly we are alarmed by the approach of our death, when we least expected him, and at an hour that we probably assumed to be the meridian of our existence. Let the present example excite our most serious thoughts and strengthen our resolutions to amendment. As life is uncertain and all earthly pursuits are vain, let us no longer postpone the important concern of preparing for eternity. Let us embrace the happy moment while time and opportunity offer to provide against the great change, and all the pleasures of this world shall cease to delight, and the reflections of a virtuous life shall yield the only comfort and consolation. Thus our expectations will not be frustrated when we are hurried, unprepared, into the presence of an all wise and powerful judge, to whom the secrets of all hearts are known, and from whom no culprit can escape. Brethren let us, while in this stage of existence, support with propriety the character of our profession, advert to the nature of our solemn ties, and pursue with assiduity the sacred tenants of the order. Then with becoming reverence let us supplicate the divine grace and insure the favor of the eternal being whose goodness and power know no bound. That when the awful moment arrives, be it soon or late, we may be enabled to persecute our journey without dread or apprehension to that far distant country, from which no traveller returns. By the light of the divine countenance we shall pass without trembling through those gloomy mansions where all things are forgotten, and on the great and tremendous day of trial and retribution, when we are arraigned at the bar of divine justice, let us hope that justice will be pronounced in our favor and we shall receive our reward in possession of an immortal inheritance, where joy flows in one continued stream and no mound may check its course. May we be true and faithful, and live and die in love. May we profess what is good, and may we always act agreeably to our profession. May the Lord bless us and prosper us and may all our good intentions be crowned with success. Glory be to God on high, on earth peace and goodwill toward men.

How I became a graphic artist, and why!

In 1989 I landed my first real IT job. And…

“But wait, Kevin, you said this was going to be about how you became a graphic artist, what’s IT got to do with it?”

I’m getting there. You see back in 1984 my Dad purchased the very first Apple Macintosh, and prior to that occurrence, I was all into drawing, painting, design stuff. But that Macintosh grabbed me and pulled me off in a new direction – computers! I wanted to know everything there was about how it worked, how to make my own programs and so on. This would lead me five years later to landing my first IT job. And for the next 18 years I would work in IT, doing everything from user support to operational networking to UNIX system administration. But by 1999 my interest in IT was waning. Something else was calling to me, but I knew not what. In 2004 I was hired by U.S. News and World Report magazine as their Senior Mac Systems Admin and IT department liaison to the Art Department. It would be this moment in time that would bring everything into focus. From the first time I drew a crude drawing with crayons as a child to the time I won an award for an oil painting as a teenager, to this moment. For you see I befriended a guy named Rob, who was a graphic artist for U.S. News. I would eventually get to the point where I would spend my entire lunch break watching him work, creating the most amazing designs for the magazine that week. Cover designs, infographics, and more! I thought to myself – THIS! THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING! Oh how I would love to sit all day making these amazing creations. I was never meant to be a computer guy. I was meant to be a creator of designs. So I find myself thanking Rob these days for being the catalyst that revealed what I was meant to do.

In September 2007 I wrote my letter of resignation and I had a plan to go back to school and get a degree in design, go out into the workforce and become a great graphic artist. I kept the letter under wraps and planned to present it on December 15th of that year.

Well, things went better for me than expected. A month later I was informed I was being laid off. I had survived three previous lay-offs, but this time they got me. And I couldn’t have been happier. Instead of resigning and then having nothing – I now had a big severance package that would cover me for another year. That day my boss ran into me in the hallway and looked at me with a strange look, she said, “Kevin, you seem to be taking this really well!” and I didn’t have the heart to say, “Well, yeah, I’m getting out of this hell hole and doing what I should have been doing all along!”

In March 2012 I graduated with a degree in graphic design, launched my own design studio and was my own boss for three years before being hired by one of my clients. Today I am lead designer for a company called Omnilert, and it’s the most fulfilling job I have ever had. I wake up every morning excited with the anticipation of doing great design work that day.

But why did I become a graphic artist? Was it because I should have been one in the first place? Was it because it’s fun? Was it because I never again have to tell that lady on the third floor to stop writing her passwords down on post-it notes? Nope.

I became a graphic artist because life is too short not to do what you love!

There and back again…

It’s been a long time since I made a post on my blog, and for that I apologize. Matters more important have been taking up all of my time. I lost my Mom in December, she was 78 years old and in late November she got really sick, and that progressed to the point where she was admitted to the ICU and her kidneys failed. I am truly thankful I got to say my goodbyes to her three days before she passed away. Since that time I have been reeling from the loss, suffering from severe depression and some hardcore crying spells. I was closest to my Mom, so I knew that when she died I would face grief unlike anything I have experienced. Needless to say I am on the mend, my depression is lessening, my focus has been on doing what I need to do everyday to survive and live my life as she would want me to. Now that time is becoming more available here and there, I will be able to resume posting here. I just needed some time away from everything to work through losing my Mom.