“He who doesn’t fear death dies only once.” ~Giovanni Falcone
When someone very close to us dies, I imagine its normal to start seeing life through a death-tinged filter. Oh sure, we look for and find joy (hopefully in increasing measure) as we walk through our grief. But we’ve also lost our innocence about the whole thing. Death doesn’t just happen to people on the news or in hushed rumors at the community center or to grandparents in their nineties. It happens to everyone. I happens to the kindhearted and to the evil. It happens to the young ones. It happens to babies. There is nothing you can do to fully protect yourself or your loved ones. You stay in bed to avoid it all…and an earthquake happens. It’s not a very secure, joyful way to live, knowing the sky could fall any moment on the best people in the world.
Or maybe it is security, the knowing and accepting that this is part of the journey. And it does bring a kind of surreal joy…the joy of the moments that we appreciate life most in. Thinking about death comes less frequently than it used to, but I still split the world into two groups of people: those who have experienced this kind of death up close and personal and those who haven’t. Those who have been bereaved and those who haven’t. In our culture, it’s a big camp on either side.
I spoke to Justine about it the other day. She adds her own wisdom to this conversation.