Friday, June 29, 2007

Practically speaking, or, What It All Means

I don't think that I am afraid of death. Perhaps, though, my very lack of fear is merely the clearest indication that I have not yet accepted this inevitability, but considering how many funerals I have been to in the past 4 years, and that I was present for one person's final moments, I find it unlikely that that is the case. Two friends, in just over two years, have left long before it seemed their time, and with both, I received the news by phone. I have been thinking today about how similar my reactions were in both instances, and wondering at what this may mean. Both times I knew, seconds before I heard the words, what the terrible news would be, and both times I asked first how the caller was: "Are you alright?" And both times I reassured the caller that, yes yes, I was fine, and wasn't it sad, and oh, how her family must be handling it, only to immediately call my husband and sob into the phone about how she was gone. She was just...gone.

I am surpassingly astonished by humanity's sheer strength of will and ability to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds, and overwhelming reality. And yet, I am - with every loss - surprised by my own depth of feeling, and profound sorrow. I forget, as I hear the words that a friend, a coworker, a teammate, has died that the loss is not only one of her company, of her presence, but also of the very knowledge of her, of her merely being. I forget what great comfort I take in the thought that good people simply are, that they are in the world and are contributing to it with their wisdom, their humour, their kindness, their living. And so, when a good person is lost, I may not have lost a very close friend, a daily confidant or constant companion, but I have lost the assurance that - at least - that goodness is somewhere, and the comfort that the wealth of possibility and potential borne up in that soul will actualize itself over the course of a long and vibrant lifetime.

I have never felt, upon the death of someone near or dear to me, any inclination to participate in wild or senseless acts out of some sense of necessity to "live life!". But I do wonder, now, in the wake of another loss of another young life, what purpose there is in waiting to do....well, anything. My practicality dictates that now is not a good time for a child, but my experience tells me that there is no "good" time, and that, too often, our time is shorter than we'd planned. I do not want to live my life in fear of death, constantly acting in an attempt to cheat death of it's anthropomorphic desire to cheat me of living, but, likewise, I do not want to fail to live out of the fear of living unwisely or unstrategically.

I want to learn something from this, to take into myself some piece of wisdom or philosophy from which I can take direction and some solace in the knowledge that these losses are not meaningless, not without some worth, somehow.

I want the finality of these lives to have purpose, as these young women did in living.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, and that you are hurting so.



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