In our Fortress of Reflection, where we wax and wane on things Lex, there are a couple of dominant memes. One is that Lex's demise reminds us of our frailty. A reminder that life is fleeting and oft taken for granted. In some ways, upon reflection it is not news to us. At face value that is. If you've not suffered a recent loss it's very easy to forget that we really are here today, gone tomorrow. As I dwell on the Lex thread I've neglected other threads that I belong to, where others that I have known or known of have passed in the last week.
It came to me one day as I watched Number One Daughter back out of our driveway that I might be looking at her for the last time. Not because she was leaving us, heading to somewhere specifically dangerous, but because she was an American teenager heading out onto the roads of America. Given her inexperience and the danger that inhabits the streets of America she was heading out into, she could do everything right and still be killed on the streets. And this was pre-texting. This sudden thought all but dropped me to my knees like a punch to the gut.
It was not a premonition, she left and later returned unharmed and having had no close calls. It was just an awareness of how fragile life is. A sudden dawning that my child was now participating in life in a manner that could suddenly snatch her away from me without warning or reason. Twenty years in the Army where some friends of mine died within minutes of me seeing them that last time had not prepared me for the mortal danger that is life on this planet for my children.
And for us, what happened to Lex is scary. He was a really good aviator, he believed in rehearsing the hard things during good weather because if it's hard under good circumstances, it's more so when the chips are down. So he walked the walk, he did the things that you should do to prepare you for when you roll snake eyes. A good pilot, who prepared, was careful, and didn't take things for granted. And it didn't matter, as some of them have said, "he touched the face of God and God touched him back and kept him".
There's an old saying in the Army, that the Vietnam vets taught me, "It's better to be lucky than skilled because one day you'll run out of skill". They had plenty of stories of guys that were successfully moving in on the bad guys only to jump into a shell hole for cover and have another shell land on them. And more recently with Lex, he ran out of everything, including luck.
Another thing is that his legacy is for us to go out and blog. To pass along that light that we shared in his community. Several have commented that with Lex gone, the magic is gone and we are likely to scatter. Several of us have decided to blog on and take that challenge. Several, this site included, were dusty and cobwebbed sites with little or no recent posts. But we see it as our job to take up that torch, to keep it lit, to go out and light up the dark corners of the Internet. To do what we can to fulfill the promise of blogging as Lex did so well.
Given his ability, it's a daunting task. It's a herculean task to write, then write again. And again. And again. He did so daily, several times daily, while in the military, while transitioning to a new career, while working on his post-graduate degree. Many of us have trouble doing so a couple of times a week, let alone daily. Lex wrote well, very well. I don't know about the others, but I feel like I'm writing using my feet and doing so in Sanskrit. It doesn't flow, it isn't natural, it's painful to do. I get lucky and my muse kicks in and then we're off to the races. Except for when it doesn't.
Number One Daughter helps me tremendously, I owe a large part of any skill that I have to her coaching me while I've been doing my post-graduate work. Soon to be finished. She walks that fine line between trying to help her Dad and not hurting his feelings. And she's been very patient with me, a gift of her mother.
So, we're going out and trying our best. It's another way to deal with our grief and try to honor a man we miss and held in high esteem. We are part of his legacy, graduates of Lex's School of Blogalism, sometimes sans the talent, sometimes with some modicum of talent. But we know what it looks like when it's done correctly and we owe the world to try.