The biggest tragedy in life is the incessant marching on of time. It never stops, it doesn't respond to threats, denials, begging, or bargaining. It presses on with cavalier indifference and I don't blame it. Things can’t stay the same forever just because we want them to.
But anger is a useless emotion in connection with death. It serves no purpose and is a means to no end. Death will always be there, lurking around the corner, an unreckonable force with no known cure. Not that a cure is forthcoming; I don’t believe the scientists of the human race will ever discover the secret of life or the antidote to death. Though I am, and will remain, devoutly unreligious, I will not aver that science has all the answers.
Indisputably, death is in all of our futures, how could a rational mind possibly assert otherwise? Regardless, we bathe in the present, ignore the future prospect of death, and relish the past in an almost unhealthy way. We perceive the things we do as important, we hope the people in our lives see us as memorable, we desire to leave a mark on this world that will remind all future generations of our once existence. Of course we can admit that most will be failures at that particular endeavor; few are actually remembered by history or singled out in the annals of time. But conciliatorily, we hope that at least our families and friends will share a word about our lives, some story or sentiment that proves we had a life here at one time.
As much as possible, I refrain from considering my own death and the deaths of the people around me. It’s too bleak a thought for me to venture near, to even fathom really. Yes, death is indeed unimaginable, but only for the living. I suspect for the dying, it is quite welcome, a long deserved respite from a tortuous journey. And while it is inarguably a sad thing for us to witness as mortal creatures, it is both a necessary and natural process.
Of course for the ones left behind, death is a cruel reminder of what is still in store. It also signifies the nonnegotiable end of a cherished relationship. The latter is the reality where anger usually resides. We absolutely abhor the idea of losing a loved one to death. But our consciences could never afford a choice to keep the dying alive for mere peace of mind. As living creatures, we should always strive to be unselfish, especially when it comes to death.
Ultimately death is sad because we desire those around us, as well as ourselves, to live forever, to last for an eternity, to never succumb to the inevitable expiration that haunts each and every one of us. We’d freeze ourselves in time if we could, to never grow old and decay, to never have to watch our families and friends and contemporaries wither away to nothing. But those are unrealistic feats.
Today I witnessed a death. While it was sad, it was also for the best. Best only because we cannot freeze ourselves in time, we cannot keep from growing old and we cannot stave off the slow rotting that afflicts us all. If we could, then death would not be for the best. Instead, we'd live forever, within and amongst our kin, healthy and relatively happy.
I didn’t pity her, not really. In fact I envied her in a manner of speaking. She is finished now. Death is no longer a prospect, no longer an impending doom in her future that she will one day have to contend with. We should all be so lucky.
Rest In Peace, Skylar.