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Legacy Beyond Life: Joseph Lewis on Living, Losing, and the Eternal Echo of Our Stories.

In this thought-provoking piece, Joseph Lewis, a celebrated author and a stalwart in the field of education, takes us on a reflective journey that delves into the essence of memory, loss, and the indelible impact we leave on those around us. As someone who has navigated the complexities of human emotions through both his professional life and his rich literary career, Lewis offers readers a unique lens through which to view the tapestry of life.


Joseph Lewis (Used with permission)
Joseph Lewis (Used with permission)

With nine published books to his name, available on platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through his publisher, Black Rose Writing, Joseph Lewis has carved a niche for himself in the world of crime fiction and inspirational writing. His works, such as "Caught in a Web," which won a PenCraft Literary Award and was hailed as one of the best crime fiction novels of 2018 by Best Thrillers, and "Spiral Into Darkness," recognized as a Reader's Favorite Recommended Read, showcase his adeptness at exploring the darker facets of the human psyche while offering glimpses of redemption and resilience.


Retiring from a distinguished career in education in July of 2020, Lewis has dedicated over four decades to serving youth and families as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator. His transition to working part-time as an online educator allows him to continue his passion for impacting lives, albeit in a different capacity.


The narrative that unfolds below is not just a testament to Joseph Lewis's prowess as a storyteller but also an invitation to ponder the profound truth that we die twice: once when our bodies cease to function, and again when our stories are no longer told. Drawing from his personal experiences, including a poignant episode from the show NCIS, Lewis intertwines his own journey of recovery from hip replacement surgery with the universal themes of loss, remembrance, and the legacy we leave behind.


As you read through Lewis's musings, be prepared to embark on a deeply personal exploration of what it means to live, to lose, and ultimately, to be remembered. This piece, rich with emotion and insight, promises to touch hearts and provoke thought, echoing the very essence of Joseph Lewis's body of work and his impact as an educator and author.


 

Die Twice

I have been absent lately because of my hip replacement and the rehab that has and is taking place. Sorry about that. But I can tell you all is well, and the doc cleared me to go back to working with kids in a middle school, which I absolutely love.

During rehab, I got caught up on shows I recorded but didn’t watch, as well as movies I’ve always wanted to see but never did so. I also did a great deal of reading and especially writing, which is my passion, second only to my wife and family.


One show I watch regularly, even binge watch, is NCIS. Kim and I watch reruns on weekends, but we are behind in the new season. But I caught the “Tribute to Ducky” episode. Ducky was played by David McCallum, who died in real life recently. The episode covered his death well. It was both poignant and touching, and brought back many cast members who had left the show, either by in person cameos or by video clip as Ducky was remembered.


One of the opening scenes was Leon telling the members of the team what Ducky told him when his wife died (on the show). Ducky told him, “We all die twice. Once when our bodies wear out. The second, when our stories stop being told.”


We Die Twice …


I honestly never thought about that. I never heard that before. But it makes sense, doesn’t it?


At the age of 70, I’ve lost family members and friends along the way. Some, I remember dearly, as well as clearly. I remember when and how it happened, and where I was when I found out. My nephew Jared and other nieces and nephews. My friend, Tom. My dad and mom and my sisters, Donna, Betty, Mary, and Joanne. My son, Wil.


Something I watch or read or see might remind me of someone I lost, and it brings to mind an event and, with it, a story about that person. When I get together with my remaining family, we retell stories, many of which have been told over and over, and the stories always bring a smile or a laugh. Sometimes, a tear.


I know I might sometimes bore my girls by retelling the same stories over and over, but the stories mean so much to me, because the person I’m talking about means so much to me. Both Hannah and Emily, even Kim, indulge me by listening again … and again … and …


In that same NCIS episode, someone mentions (I forget who), “It’s (the stories) all we have left, really. The stories we leave behind.” But one person responded, “Not really. It’s the people we’ve touched along the way.”


That comment touched my soul, as much and even more, as the Die Twice quote. “It’s the people we’ve touched along the way.”


Again, at 70, people have come into and have left my life like waiters in a restaurant (a Stephen King line). With 48 years of being in education, can you even guess at the number of kids (and teachers, and fellow counselors, coaches and administrators) I’ve worked with? I can’t. It boggles my mind. Some I remember, while some, sadly, I don’t. Former students, now adults, greet me and tell me I was their teacher, their counselor, their coach, or their principal, and sometimes, I’m caught in embarrassment because I don’t recall them. Yet, I must have meant enough for them to come forward.


And when they do, they might share a story, an event, a time. I love it and only hope that those I might never see again feel the same way about me and feel comforted because I might have touched their life positively.


My hope, though, is for each of us to allow the memories of our dear losses to remain fresh by the retelling of their stories. And my hope is for each of us to remember whether or not we realize it, we’re touching lives. We’re affecting- either positively or negatively- those who come into contact with us. My prayer is that somehow, someway, my memory causes a smile, a warm feeling, and that my impact was a blessing. Something to think about …


Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!


 

For enthusiasts keen on exploring more of Joseph's literary creations and his diverse range of works, there are ample resources available. You're invited to visit Joseph's official website at https://www.jrlewisauthor.com. Here, under the Inspirational Blog tab, an extensive array of content awaits, offering detailed insights into all nine of Joseph's published books, complete with descriptions and direct purchasing links.


Additionally, another platform that offers a glimpse into Joseph's thoughts and writings is https://www.simplethoughtsfromacomplicatedmindsortof.com/. This site provides further access to Joseph's endeavors, thoughts, and literary contributions, enhancing the exploration of his work and insights.


For an interactive glimpse into Joseph's thoughts and updates, connect with him on TikTok by searching for @josephlewis5566. Here, Joseph shares snippets of his writing life and more, offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at his creative process.


Additionally, for those intrigued by Joseph's book "Fan Mail," a compelling description along with a purchase link is readily available at https://amzn.to/3eNgSdS. Don't miss out on the captivating book trailer, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/MS5VjTzCvM4, providing a visual preview of the intrigue and suspense that awaits readers.


2023 Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner

2023 Reader’s Favorite Runner-Up


“At once a coming-of-age story that will appeal to mature teens, a thriller that can reach into adult audiences, and a psychological suspense novel that holds elements of deeper life inspections about sacrifice, redemption, and discovery, its gripping saga will reach a wide audience of readers and age groups.” - Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review, Editor of California Bookwatch.


“Starts with a bang and does not stop its relentless shrapnel barrage until you are crying with the characters. Fabulous job by the author. You want to read this one.” - Tina O’Hailey, author of Dark Drink.


“Very powerful. Tough. Gritty. Character development is remarkable. Lewis cuts deep as he tackles teen sexuality questions as well as dangerous stalkers. The story explodes with tension and strength, reflective of the personalities involved. Highly recommend it!” - Sharon K. Middleton, author of The McCarron Mysteries.


“Lewis takes after authors such as C.J. Box, James Patterson, and David Baldacci, as he immerses readers in his characters by having them in reoccurring roles and appearing throughout each of his books.” – The Author Spot (.com).

A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers.


Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad.


As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart. Would he once again have to put himself in harm’s way to save them? And, if faced with that choice, will he?





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