In this season dear people seem to die. If I count the friends, family, relatives whose time here finished in this season, they are many. Both of my parents, a grandfather, a cousin, and now, just this past week two friends. I can make nothing profound of it. I just observe it; and remember them.
My thought continues, and I realize that at the other end of this table, when January comes to light, and, thus, a new year, many, many people I am friends with, and many people I know, celebrate birthdays.
But of course, this happens every month, every day, every second, death and birth. That circle. But how much more we feel a death when we are invested in celebrating, as many of us are at this time of year. Is this loss harder at this season? Or can loss be mounted on a comparative scale? Is death an unmeasurable absolute? And birth as well–an absolute?
Well, the harshness with which death of a loved one pummels us will vary with when in our own lives it occurs; the date, the season we are in natural and personal, where we are, the level of rebound resource we have within us and from others, what follows in our lives because of this loss of this person, and what in this world is just plain continuing despite our loss and that feels like life is stomping right over us as we mourn our loved one’s loss of it, and our loss of our loved one. But here’s the absolute–that person was here, and no longer is. Actually that is two absolutes, two irremediable absolutes.
And here’s the absolute of birth–a person wasn’t and now is. That is each one of us. We once were not born, but then we were, and we are, and we are here. Two things Annie Dillard said smote me: (1) “[regarding the concept behind]the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”
(2) “I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.”
I wish you life, and life to the fullest.