Perhaps it’s just a sign of my age. Last year began with sickness—mine. This year began with a number of people I know (or am in some way connected to) dying. It doesn’t seem right for a new year to begin with so much loss of life, but just as death visits even the most beautiful places, it can come at any time.
Death is a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean we fully comprehend it. All of us may think we know death, but we’ve only ever observed it. We can try to define it or reduce it to scientific terms, but the truth is that there is a level at which it remains a mystery to us. And that is part of why we mourn.
When I found out a friend of mine had died—a young friend and one so full of joy and life—I was shocked to the point of confusion. I was disoriented. I thought it would be a number of years before they’d start burying my peers.
Death has come close before. I’ve buried all my grandparents, an uncle, and my mother. All those funerals have taught me that living with death isn’t easy just because it’s common.