Samuel Sadlowski—Hidden Grief

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In Maledicus Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, my horror novel, the protagonist Roosevelt Franklin, along with two very close friends formed a ghost hunting group. In a previous post, I gave some background information on Roosevelt, and I will give more in the future, but I want to turn my attention in this and future posts to his friends.

In today’s post, I will speak about Samuel Sadlowski, a retired homicide detective. Sam, as he prefers to be called, is a short, stout, balding man. In his youth, he kept in excellent physical shape, but in his older years, he has let his physical well-being deteriorate. He eats as much junk food as he can, and loves to drink beer. His seeming self-destructive physical choices are, in some ways, a reflection of his inner turmoil.

Like the other two men in the ghost-hunting group, he has had someone very close to him die, and it has had huge impact on his life. Sam’s son, Josh committed suicide when he was 16, and Sam never found a reason why the boy did it. Despite being an experienced homicide detective, Sam never discovered anything, any kind of clue, which pointed to a rational for this terrible action.

Of course, like others who had been friends or family of a suicide, Sam blames himself for his son’s death. He thinks that there must have been some indicator of a problem that he should have seen. So, Sam carries this grief and blame deep in his soul, and it drives him to try to find answers to the question: is there life after death?

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Roosevelt’s and Sam’s friendship originated in the cauldron of the Vietnam War, when Roosevelt served as a 2nd Lieutenant and Sam was a Sergeant in his unit. The central experience of the war for them was the Tet Offensive, a massive attack launched by the North Vietnamese on the South, in an attempt to take the country. The two men fought together and saved each others’ lives several times.

Even though they came from vastly different backgrounds, Roosevelt from old upper-class and Sam from the working-class, their friendship was bonded in an unbreakable forge of life’s greatest perils. And they maintained that friendship over the course of many decades.

In another post about Sam, I will write about his hidden love of art.

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(Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 1889)

Benefits of Reading

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I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life.

I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. While there are a myriad of ways to learn in life, reading still stands out as the primary, and most efficient, way of gaining information. (I am not in any way discounting the importance of learning through experience.) Readers can learn about areas of study that exist far outside of their particular areas of understanding or expertise. For example, I am a student of English literature, but I love reading books about quantum mechanics and the extraordinarily esoteric world of String Theory. I do not understand these ideas the way a physicist would, but I can still appreciate the ideas from books aimed at intelligent, non-specialist readers. Such reading allows the book lover to explore an almost unlimited range of ideas.

In addition to education, I think there is a second and equally important value to reading. I have read numerous articles recently about studies suggesting that people, who read, especially fiction, develop more empathy than those who don’t read (Chiaet). The overall point of the results of this study, as well as others, is that people who read fiction tend to learn to identify with other human beings and their problems. This is what many of our parents taught to us when they said that we needed to learn to walk in the shoes of other people. It is the basic idea of trying to understand how other people think and feel. Even without these scientific studies, I would assert that fiction helps us to develop empathy.

What do you think about this? Do any of you have other suggestions about the benefits of reading? I would enjoy seeing your ideas.

Works Cited

Chiaet, Julianne. “Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy.” Scientific
American.Com. October 4, 2013. Web.

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