This time last fall, my friend and fellow writer, Brian J. Reed, was facing a major heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Brian dealt with heart disease for several years, though he continued working as a reporter at The Daily Sentinel in Pomeroy, Ohio, right up until his untimely death last November at the age of 44. In the last few weeks of Brian’s life, he was working on his last Op-Ed piece which has only recently come to light and into my possession. When I first read it, I felt like I had my friend back for a moment, and I hope others who knew and loved him feel the same. I suppose it doesn’t matter if you knew Brian or not when reading his last piece. It doesn’t matter because we all know life doesn’t always work out as we plan, but the hope that it will keeps us moving forward. Peace be with you, BJR.
(Beth Sergent is a staff writer at the Point Pleasant Register and formerly worked alongside Reed at The Daily Sentinel.)
Albert Camus wrote that in the depths of winter he finally learned there lay within him an “invincible summer.”
Last June or July, I scribbled that — my favorite quotation — on a scrap of paper and stuck it on the wall above my desk. In the bright and hopeful days of last summer, it reminded me of how happy I was in that season.
As fall arrived and I grieved the end of yet another memorable and happy summer, I lost the significance of that quotation. Last long winter, I glanced at it from time to time and smiled, but in the cold days it didn’t, ironically, ring as true.
For me, this summer we bid farewell to has brought about changes, disappointments, illness. It didn’t shimmer for me like the last one, or so many others before it. As often as not, July felt like January in my world.
As this summer turns to autumn, I face frightening uncertainties. The quotation is still on the wall, and I’m beginning to understand why I put it there. It was for the same reason I made certain changes, why I uncharacteristically pursued unlikely new friendships just because they seemed right, why I worked harder to be myself, but kinder, and to forgive more.
It was to prepare for what was ahead a year later. And here I am.
We all have our stark winters and for your writer, this summer has been one. But I remind myself today that regardless of what the calendar says, another brilliant and invincible summer is just days away.
(Brian J. Reed was a staff writer for The Daily Sentinel and Sunday Times-Sentinel. He was a native of Reedsville, Ohio, and lived in the Pomeroy-Middleport area.)