A death turns you toward another world, a mysterious unknown planet. It is something or someplace we’ve never been, and yet, one by one, all those close to us disappear into this mystery. One day, so will we. You can go about your daily life living it as you did before, ignoring that other world as though everything were still normal, but you won’t be able to help looking over your shoulder. What’s it like there? Is there a there? We can’t know for certain, but my experience imagining this place that lies just out of reach is that it feels light. We tend to think of unknown mysterious places as dark and fearful, but dreams are also other worlds filled with visits to mysterious places we’ve never been and there is light in dreams. Maybe there is light in death too.
Death Is A Part Of Love
I n marriage, you live every day with your partner knowing that someday it will be over. When you’re young, this awareness is distant, fleeting, surreal. As you grow older, it becomes a more relevant fear and is accompanied by worries about who will leave first, how, and when. The “who first” part vacillates between the lesser of two evils: being left behind or being the one doing the leaving, and there really is no lesser of these two evils. This scenario, as depressing as it is, is what happens when things go right. Sometimes it turns out in a way that is bereft of even ordinary expectation and you’re left widowed at a young age, before you’d had a chance to be fully seasoned by the preparedness of worry. Or a freak accident of circumstance could take you both out together, but this, too, is a less-than-perfect conclusion to your pairing because it leaves your family unit orphaned. Who will be the keeper, the distributor, the caretaker, the griever, the comforter of what’s been left behind, including children and pets? There is only one thing that alleviates these fears in me and that is the awe that it’s possible to experience such a powerful bond with another human being. We boldly choose love, knowing full well that it will be shadowed by death. Some of us even choose it again, after having already experienced the pain and fear for which we’re ultimately volunteering. A life spent alone also occasions worry about our own demise, but it’s not doubled by fear of the loss of a life partner the way it is when we choose to share our lives. If your path has taken you through the shade of a large cypress tree, keep moving, treasuring the sunlight behind you, and trust that you will reach warmth again on the other side of this darkness, even if you can’t yet see beyond the shadow.