Death, it is one of the few things from which I seem able to move forward. While, to this day, I carry the pain and scars of childhood trauma, specifically being bullied, deaths of loved ones do not haunt me.
I can still see the faces of S.B and M.M. and J.W. as they made a simple walk to school a living hell. The repeated assaults and unprovoked torture and torment were a part of life which I had no choice but to endure.
Sometimes, my body still trembles with the remembered fear.
Sometimes, instinctively, I recoil from the blows that once rained down upon me.
Sometimes, I feel the physical pain that was inflicted upon my younger self.
Yet, when it comes to death, while I miss those who are gone, I remember the positive impact they had upon me, and their circle. Their final suffering I recall, but it is not imprinted upon my psyche. The scars from their end of life suffering, if any, are healed over. What is left is a fondness for the lives they lived.
Maybe it was time served in the Navy, I’m not sure, but I have a matter of fact attitude about death.
My father suffered a long and agonizing death. He was ready. Thus when he succumbed, I was ready. He was at peace, allowing me to be at peace.
I’m not saying death doesn’t impact me. My mom’s passing was the opposite of my dad’s. Her death was sudden, unexpected and most disheartening, due to medical negligence. At the time it hit me hard. But once I recovered from the shock, sadness and anger, I moved forward, carrying to this day the good that was mom with me.
Death is, as cliché as it sounds, a part of living. If anything, living is really nothing more than the process of dying.
It is a destination we will all reach.
It is an outcome which we can’t avoid.
It is the one and only shared destiny for all.
Money doesn’t stop it.
Social status will not prevent it.
Political power doesn’t allow escape.
No matter our belief system — Azrael, the angel of death, the Grim Reaper, or nothingness, will impact those we love, those close to us, and eventually us.
The acceptance of death can create a strange paradox, many, myself included, end up fearing living much more than we fear dying.