A great man; a twist of unique and dash of beauty spliced together to forge one soul. From the start, he was a rather charming individual. Thoroughly brilliant in countless ways, this man was indeed a splendid soul. In time, he grew to be inventive, thoughtful, colorful and kind to everyone whom he conversed with. All round, and throughout many diverse circles, this man was considered wonderful and great. He bared a comic streak and a gentle voice. His temper was even and he seldom levied judgment on anyone. He wasn’t a prophet, professor or famous individual; he was simply genuine and grounded. His philosophy was elegant, precise and radically easy to comprehend. A family man, an artist, a great man: all are titles he never sought out, but all are titles he wore with pride.
A great man dies. A remarkable soul, lost to the unknown reaches of the afterlife. Whether this unique mind suffers, is rewarded or is simply deleted; we do not know. All that can be known and felt is what remains in his absence; a void. A vacancy erupts from the great man’s place at the dinner table, from his favorite chair and from his side of the bed. Such a violent chasm remains where this once great man lie. This abyss swallows more than the tears and agony of those who remain. This black pit takes in all of the vibrant and beautiful aspects of the great man. It sucks away any wonderful qualities he possessed and washes the world clean of everything unique to him; save the traits engraved in the stories uttered in his likeness. So vast and unexplainable, this hole screams for solace, peace and comfort but no cure can be applied to the wound. With time, one can sew a patch over the void, not to fix the damage but to conceal the rift left in the absence of the great man.
All people live in stories, photographs and memories. All people are survived by photographs snapped in their favor and memories collected by family and peers. The stories shared and spun will carry on the color and laughter of individuals once they’re gone. Stories of the great man will be recited long after his death. They further his character, flesh out his personality and evoke positive emotions in those who remain. Even when memories of the man fade or turn grey and cloudy; he survives death in the photographs of the day. His image and name are preserved on the waxy surface of a picture. But ink fades and time melts and withers; the few who remained, the few that knew him, will join the great man.
Ultimately, death claims all who venture in life. Death steals away the memories we hold and the snapshots our eyes strip from everyday life. Death claims the trivial and mundane recollections, and death claims any knowledge of the special times of our day. Death claims all one may know and all one may be. Death, assisted by time, may take away the photographs and people who stood in them. Death may take the photographer and the people who cherished their work. But death cannot claim a story, or the characters sketched out on paper and canvas. Death may snatch away the artist and author: but death does not steal the stories written by great men. No, death cannot claim the immaterial. No god or phantom can seize these creations. Stories, and the characters that populate them are eternal. Great individuals have always been passed on to the next generation through stories; delicate pictures sculpted by words and passion. Great men are survived by the tales they pen and stories uttered in their likeness.