Seasoned departure

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“…I used to think we escape time by disappearing into beauty. Now I see the opposite. Beauty reveals time.” from “A Lesson from the Earth” -Anne Michaels

The last year has delivered quite a walloping in terms of death.

Most are not exactly sudden, as people in our periphery grow tired, frail, ill or some combination of these traits. None necessarily fatal on its own, together create a kind of fatigue that can trigger the onset of departure. Late last year, my mother’s brother died, which was devastating for her, and left a gaping wound in the heart of our small family. During 2017 many other people succumbed. My mother’s cousin Terry, unexpectedly. Then my father’s good friend, Larry, died, not necessarily expectedly, but his health had declined in recent years. Then my dad’s mother, about a week ago (and only a week before her own birthday). Then yesterday (on the aforementioned grandmother’s birthday), my mom’s best friend for more than 35 years, Sherry, died. I know it sounds like the set-up for a joke: Terry, Larry and Sherry walk into a bar. Well, for all I know, somewhere in this universe, they are. But that’s not the point.

Death had been so much on my mind last year, entering this year, forcing me at times to move my comfort zones and expand on my sense of space and time. That is, time is not unlimited – but at the same time, does not really exist. We float through a world in which all action is interaction. What are we – or were we – without interaction? We do or did not exist. I have let myself love and let myself get hurt and do and undo all the concomitant reactions (e.g. lashing out, crying, recomposing, moving forward, and so on). To feel – and to produce something from the feeling – is somehow all there is, and what proves we are alive, proves we still have something to give – whether to another person or to the world.

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