The Glowing Souls Among Us

They are the answer to despair

John P. Weiss
5 min readDec 29, 2022


Photo by John P. Weiss

A mild melancholy sometimes burrows into my consciousness, nudging optimism aside with a dark invitation toward despair.

I’m not given to depression, but perhaps age, loss, and change have a way of tripping the spring in one’s step.

The Banshees of Inisherin is partly to blame. It’s a movie I recently watched with my wife.

The film is a dark tragicomedy about two friends, Colm Doherty and Pádraic Súilleabháin, who live on the fictional Irish isle of Inisherin.

Colm, a musician, has grown bored with Pádraic, who is likable but simple-minded. Colm abruptly ends his friendship with Pádraic, who is confused and crestfallen over the situation.

The movie reminds me of a friend who is struggling with memory loss. He seems to be distancing himself. He sent a birthday and Christmas card but won’t reply to my phones calls, emails, and messages.

His friendship stretches back to childhood.

We used to get together for coffee and reminisce. He’d remember things I’d forgotten, and vice-versa.

But now he is receding, taking the memories I’ve forgotten with him. It’s like a small part of my past is fading, never again to be retrieved.

My grandparents passed away many years ago.

Dad died in 2004, and my mother in 2021. My older sister and I are all that’s left of our little family, save a few cousins.

Thankfully, I have a family of my own. A wonderful wife and son, in-laws, two loyal dogs, and an indifferent cat. They bring me great joy.

But it’s hard not to mourn what was.

Another thing that has frayed my optimism is the demise of Christmas cards.

People don’t send them much anymore. I guess they feel a Facebook greeting will suffice. If they send any communication at all.

I remember my father, in his Cardigan sweater and trusty Waterman fountain pen in hand, signing Christmas cards for family and friends. He always had a large stack of cards to mail.

Dad believed it was important to send handwritten correspondence. To wish friends and loved…



John P. Weiss

I write stories and essay about life, often illustrated with my photography and artwork.