That’s a quote from William Shakespeare. I was talking to a friend earlier, and being November 1, we got into the inevitable discussion on death. I’ve been missing my dad again recently, and the 12 years he’s been gone don’t seem to diminish the vacuum that’s been created. The episodes become few and far between, and the urgency not as intense, but the gentle gnawing is still there. Actually it’s been strange. I’ve been dreaming about him again, more than a couple of times in fact, and mostly about his death. One very vivid dream had me crying my eyes out during his funeral. I didn’t cry at all during his real funeral in 1996, not because I consciously tried not to, but because I already cried when he was in the hospital and I was quite done. I was glad he was finally over with that whole, pain and agony in a decaying body stage. So it was a bit puzzling to me to be dreaming about grieving for him in such a big way. I don’t even try to figure it out.
Anyway, back to the conversation about death, I was saying that inasmuch that it sucks to go first, I wouldn’t want to be in the unenviable position of dying last. The idea of attending the funerals of all my friends and loved ones is a petrifying idea. It sucks to grieve over so many people you love, and that feeling that you’ve been left behind; like they’ve all gone to a party somewhere and you’re still at home, waiting for the bus. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be the rickety shell of a man surrounded by young vibrant people, still in the pink of youth. I’d like to go somewhere in the middle. I don’t mind grieving for some of the people I love, but the selfish part of me (the attention whore), wants some loved ones left to grieve for me!
This year was a year of unexpected deaths.It really jarring when people so young, die so sudden, so unexpectedly.
Death freaks me out. I used to think I’ve made my peace with death, that I’m ready anytime it tells me, “game over”, but the closer my years nudge me ever nearer to the edge of the grave, suddenly I’m not so sure. I definitely freak out with the idea of the deaths of loved ones. It’s a certainty, but the mystery surrounding the order and manner of who goes first, is an excruciating thought. Even when my beloved pets die, it’s crippling, what more family and friends?
I’d really rather not think about death, that sneaky thief in the night, but I don’t want to fear it as well. Respect it and it’s power, yes, but not fear it. Nobody knows empirically, but I’d personally rather believe that it’s not the end, but more of a crossing over, not unlike the Greek crossing of the River Styx, via the boatman Charon. People used to put coins in the mouths of the dead so they have something to pay Charon as he ferries them across. I’d like to think I’d still “see” my dad
The more I love people, the more paralyzing the idea of losing them to death. Everything is so fleeting. It’s a scary thought, but strangely I find comfort in the constancy of it. The harder you try to hold on to things that don’t last, the more difficult the struggle to let go. This is the epic battle for me. Obviously, after 12 years, I still can’t let go of my dad. And that’s just one loved one. And my heart loves legions more….