Last summer at this time I was studying Dante’s Inferno at NYU. Each week I was more and more fascinated with Dante’s detailed take on death and where we go when we leave this life.
This year so much has changed, not only because of deaths I’ve experienced but because of those around me who are dealing with its aftermath or the emotional wringer of knowing someone close to them is on the cusp of dying.
Yet perhaps what has made my compassion grow exponentially around this is a conversation with my mother that I wrote about here recently. She had an insight so special, so unique to mothers, that it made me acutely aware of the people in my life who now are feeling like “orphans” because their parents are gone. That they are in their 40s and 50s doesn’t matter. It’s ageless.
What in the world would it be like to not have the role of daughter any longer? Oh man, I don’t want to know.
My sorrow for those who do know keeps expanding.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with friends about our mutual loss of a man we held in the highest regard. Our conversation made him feel alive for a few hours, or at the very least like he once existed. Because as time passes it’s like we keep questioning if we imagined them.
They’re not coming back. They’re not.
Our world has changed. We’re changed.
Millions of people have gone through this before us. It’s what happens.
Life and death. Water through our hands.
Here today. Then gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.
Become acquainted with the language of angels or of atheists, of Dante or Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Gone as we knew them.
Life as we knew it.