On Monday my Uncle Mike had a severe stroke, the sort of thing that people sometimes recover from…and sometimes don’t. Thankfully he made it to the hospital quickly and the early indications have been encouraging, but it doesn’t change the fact that Death is right there. He always is, in fact.
In my house growing up, along with sex, death was one of the two things you just did not talk about. So we went on banishing this weighty subject to a far away land and pretending it didn’t exist. It’s probably a good thing that few people close to me have died at this point. Because Death will show his face eventually, and it will be an introduction wracked with pain and regret.
I have chosen to think of Death, not as an enemy, but as a casual observer, someone that follows you and watches you every day, eminently patient, always waiting. He is closer than we think, just a poorly timed text, or an unhealthy vein, or an act of nature away. As traumatic as it is to lose a loved one, I would like to try and face the inevitability with comfort and understanding.
“Oh, you’re here.”
He nods. He never speaks. I nod back at him. I’m sad, of course, that things are about to change, but not filled with regret. For when you see Death, watching silently from every corner, you tend to respect what you have before you. You don’t wish for more time, you comfort yourself in knowing that you did what you could with the time you had.