On Death

A friend and I talk about death.

She had lost her grandfather in the earlier part of the year. Her friend’s father was involved in a fatal car crash. An acquaintance had committed suicide. Another breathes on life support while controversy surrounds his life. Another individual she didn’t know personally had killed herself.

I recall all the deaths I have personally experienced as she speaks.

My paternal grandmother. A paternal uncle. My father’s best friend. A schoolmate. My maternal great grandfather. My maternal grandfather. Another schoolmate. A friend’s husband. Another paternal uncle. A neighbour. A teacher. A college mate. A friend’s stillborn child. Two children. A mentor. A friend’s grandfather.

Some have been suicides. Some have been accidents. Some have been a gradual closure of the life process. Others have been sudden, the unfair ones.

In 2013, life allowed me to experience grief that comes with death. I shifted positions, personalized the death, and closed myself in a vestibule of secret grieving. Less than a year later, it happened again. Life opened itself to reveal the secrets of another death.

For two years, I read about death. I read The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying. I read The Year of Magical Thinking. I read everything Eckhart Tolle has written on death. I grieve in private. I cry in private. I write in private.

Everywhere I read, death is followed with life. Some say, Death is part of life. Some say, Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal

At the end of two years, I take myself out of the vestibule. I light a lamp, closing the grief, closing the fear of death.

Tonight, I only listen.

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