(Doing the right thing)
A death. Right now, specifically, a friend’s death.
In recent years I think about death most days anyway. For obvious reasons.
And I’ve existed with a contradiction. I can fully, really, actually, emotionally and intellectually appreciate my life. And there’s a huge number of implications that come with that. And that’s all as it should be, and it’s all positive.
But I’ve never been able to think clearly about the deaths of others. Today I wanted to move on from that, for the right reasons, in the right way.
Close Nothing (Fear, Part Four)
A funeral. An opportunity for closure they say, closure. What does it close? For whom? Is closure even what you want?
Time passes. Times heals, so they say. Others say all that happens is that you learn how to cope.
At least as time passes a death ceases to be a topic of conversation. A small relief. It’s no longer news. A small relief that lets you choke off your emotions before they’re irreversibly dominant.
And yes, a sudden death, an unexpected death, is a shock, of course. That’s an added element. But after the shock has passed, perhaps it’s not much different from any other.
And in death’s wake will often come a sadness, a hole. It can be a jostling hole crowded with emotions. Good history, bad history, nostalgia, regrets, longing. One way or another. To varying degrees. Emotions made up of infinitely variable elements.
And my friend’s death is the same as every other death. As my death will be. As your death will be. Every death is inevitable, to one day be forgotten. Probably sad, for some, for a while. But any sadness will be forgotten too.
But today I was thinking, perhaps a death of someone you are close to isn’t something to get over. Perhaps that’s an utterly wrong notion.
So I’m trying to stand back and think, rather than react.
Yes, with a death you change, and you learn how to live in a world that has itself changed forever. Changed in a small way perhaps – but changed.
But that’s nothing surprising. It’s nothing unusual. That can sound harsh, cold, unfeeling, impossible, insane. But, in the fullness of time, it sounds true too. Perhaps there’s little to think about death, let alone to say about it, given its universal inevitability.
And as I think about the inevitability, I’m thinking that that’s fine. No, I’m not saying death is something to ignore. I’m saying that it’s fine because instead of dwelling on the unremarkable and inevitable, surely what’s left is a simple, positive logic.
My friend who’s died; none of my dead friends or relatives – none of them would have wanted me to be paralysed by their deaths. And if you’re not paralysed? I think logic places the onus on everyone to make the most of the life you have. You’re fortunate enough to have life.
And making the most of life doesn’t require anything extraordinary or difficult. It’s do-able because it’s making the most of what you already have. Enjoy the ‘mundane’ – precisely because it isn’t. The so-called mundane – the so-called ordinary … it all holds something to enjoy if you look. Just look out of your window. Just look at everything that’s all around you.
And as I enjoy life, I should celebrate the peace my dead friends and relatives now have. I should celebrate that I once knew them.
And so the notion of closure becomes irrelevant. What am I trying to shut the door on? I don’t want to shut the door on my memories. Ahead are positive options that are there to take. Close nothing.
Close nothing, and appreciate that it’s within my own hands to make sure I make the most of my own life.
Arguably … a little-mentioned fear that comes with death is the fear of being unsure how well you’ll cope with the loss. That might be a selfish fear, one that we mask by our sadness. Which is understandable … but it doesn’t address it.