Ending, concluding, summing up 6

I’ve noticed that in fiction, especially short stories, stories often stop rather than conclude.  While recently reading a couple of short story collections trying to find stories for the short story group I belong to, I noticed this “stopping” rather than concluding a lot.  This got me to thinking about my story and how it would end.  I wrote this all down quickly in a notebook.  I wrote:  I wonder if my story, my life, will end like these stories – at a stop rather than a conclusion.

A conclusion, to me, would be more satisfactory.  A conclusion sums up.

A conclusion says, this is what you were for, this is why you were born, this is why you mattered, if only to a few…if only for mere moments in the grand scheme of things.

The unexpected deaths of two people who were not close to me but with whom I interacted over the years, who both mattered to other people who are close to me, reinforced this wondering about stops/ends/conclusions/summations.

They each mattered to others.  One lived a conventional life and was a good do-bee.  The other lived unconventionally and didn’t have much materially.  He was a free-bee. One had a few months warning that her death was imminent although she only shared the information with about 6 people.  The other had a heart attack.  One planned her home-going celebration.  The other had no plan.  His burial was left to others.  In the end, both departed and both mattered beyond what they knew and to more people than they may have imagined.

A line in a song from the church of my youth said, “believe I”ll run on, see what the end is gonna be.”  I don’t plan to run-on because as far as I’m concerned, I’m not ready yet. What I know is that, until my end, I can’t stop.  I must go on.  Going on means:

  • Putting one foot in front of the other.

  • Doing something of meaning each day.

  • Being my best me as much as I can.

  • Enjoying the abundance of pleasures that I witness around me.

  • Not taking the people closest to me for granted.

  • Giving to others.

  • Taking care of myself.

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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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6 thoughts on “Ending, concluding, summing up

  • Lilly

    Wow, are you reading my mind per chance? Over the past two weeks I have had contact with five people who have been told they are terminally ill – with months to live. Four of them are around my age. One guy I have known for 30 years and his diagnosis in particular has affected me terribly. One, because I love these people and they are all in shock and two, because I think to myself how I don’t want to finish at this point without a proper conclusion either. After having a life altering experience some years ago that set me back years, I have not really climbed that mountain yet and got back to where I was and feel I should be. The last couple of days I have felt incredible pressure to get on with things. To achieve. To fulfil my bucket list. To focus on people in my life etc. I am taking your list and making it my own. I think that might be called ripping off someone else’s great thoughts, but your list is meaningful to us all. Love your writing and the essence of you You always speak right to me. Have a wonderful weekend, full of meaning.

  • Candelaria

    Thanks for writing so deeply from your heart about your similar feelings.  It is so good to be heard.  I tend to write my feelings and experience rather than express them verbally.  It is good to be understood.  We have to grab life with both hands whatever that means to us because I know the countdown has begun.  Be well.  Be!

  • Wendy Ellertson

    Wise words…makes me think about the story I’m trying to finish…and about life….and reinforces my philosophy of savoring every day and thinking about the ripples we are sending out as we walk through the waters of life.

  • Carolyn

    You are so right. This is the season to begin thinking about legacy…what do we want to leave behind. Thank YOU for sharing your feelings. You have primed my thought process.