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Prompt:

Write 500 words on any topic you like.  Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.

Post (500 words):

My husband came home from work last night and said, “So you know that car crash near Regina?”

No, I replied.  I don’t watch the news, and unless I happen to catch the newsbreak on the CBC, I don’t usually know what’s happened that day.

“Well, it’s possible, but unsubstantiated, that it involved Michele Sereda.  Five dead.”

Wait, what?  As in Michele is dead?  Michele Sereda dead?

“Yes, and Lace.  I was supposed to audition Lace this weekend.”

I immediately jumped on to social media to see if anyone could confirm this.  Apparently, a friend had identified her car in the photos of the accident, but no one knew for sure.  Within a couple hours though, people were starting to post messages on her Facebook page.  By this morning, it was confirmed that she, Lace, and three others had all perished in a tragic car accident just outside Regina.

I knew Michele, but I had never worked with her.  I auditioned for her once.  I’ve seen her perform a couple of times.  Honestly, I was usually bewildered by her creations, and found them to be inaccessible to me.  Not my cup of tea.  But I respected her passion and drive.  She had a strong, creative force, and she followed it.

I find it so strange to look at someone’s Facebook page after they are dead.  The day before, they may have posted about what happened on their favourite tv show that night, and then the next day, the wall/timeline is filled with heartbreaking posts of people who can’t believe the loss.

It’s scary because it confirms the fact, visually, that we really never know when death will find us.  We know it as an abstract fact; we joke, we laugh, we make sentimental posters and images with syrupy quotes telling us to live for the moment, we only get one chance, we create our lives.  But when it’s there on a Facebook wall, some poor soul not having a clue that within a few hours her life would be over, we have to confront the reality that we are not in control, that we really only do have one shot at this, and even though we may create our lives, we cannot create nor control our deaths.  That is scary.

I feel devastated by these deaths because they have hit close to home.  Four artists.  Four strong voices of our culture.  Four lights extinguished in one fell swoop.  The cause of the accident is yet unknown, but we all know how dangerous Saskatchewan highways are in the winter.  Yet another confrontation of the reality of death – I’ve been on those road trips with other artists.  I’ve toured the province in a van with artists during a Saskatchewan winter.  Getting in to a car with your friends, fellow artists, off to teach a workshop or perform a play, never for a moment thinking that these could be your final moments on earth.

I hope they all rest in peace.  You will be missed.

Post (250 words):

My husband came home last night and said, “You know that car crash near Regina?”

No, I replied.  I don’t watch the news.

“Well, it’s possible that it involved Michele Sereda. Five dead.”

Wait, what?  As in Michele Sereda is dead?

I jumped on to social media. Apparently, a friend had identified her car in the photos of the accident, but no one knew for sure.  This morning, it was confirmed that she and others had perished in a car accident just outside Regina.

I knew Michele. I’ve seen her perform. I was bewildered by her creations. But I respected her passion and drive.

I find it so strange to look at someone’s Facebook page after they are dead. It confirms the fact, visually, that we never know when death will find us.  We know it as an abstract fact; we make posters with syrupy quotes telling us to live for the moment.  But when it’s on Facebook, some poor soul not having a clue that within a few hours her life would be over, we have to confront the reality that we cannot create nor control our deaths.  That is scary.

These deaths have hit close to home.  Four artists. I’ve been on those road trips.  I’ve toured the province during a Saskatchewan winter.  Getting in to a car with your friends, off to teach a workshop or perform a play, never thinking that these could be your final moments on earth.

Rest in peace.  You will be missed.

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