I find myself once more dealing with death.
The past few years have brought more than one sad occasion into my life. I find with each death that it doesn’t get easier with time. It used not to bother me. It does now.
Being uncomfortable with it at this stage in my life is odd. I never would’ve expected that. I guess it’s because the deaths that have occurred primarily have been among friends of mine, or, in one case, the father of a friend of mine who recently passed.
Suddenly I find my world being rocked by an intrusive factor that neither you nor I have any control over. We all know we cannot escape death. That’s not the issue. It’s the hole that’s left in our lives and those of our friends. It’s holding a friend’s hand and wishing that you can alleviate the pain, or help the survivors, or simply trying to make sense of the situation. It’s talking to a friend who is really unable to respond, leaving the room for a moment, and knowing that as you just stepped into the hallway that the friend died.
There is no more communication.
It’s attempting to help the widow or the widower and not knowing what to say. I think that’s the hardest thing, not knowing what to say to the person who’s dying or to the survivors.
In any case, I find myself now struggling as yet another friend has entered the cycle. He and I don’t get along on some issues. We’ve had some rather blunt conversations. Even so I never would have wished this illness on him.
Two months ago he was fine. Then suddenly he contracted a terminal illness: leukemia. Oh I’m sure that the disease was present and had been present for some time, but it just seems to have suddenly appeared. It’s a fast-moving strain. I’ve seen similar before. I spoke with him tonight. I spoke with him and didn’t know what to say. I spoke with his wife and didn’t know what to say. I phoned another friend and didn’t know what to say. I stared hard into our bathroom mirror tonight and didn’t know what to say to myself.