Thursday, October 9, 2008

Surrounded by Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality. –
Emily Dickinson

I’m not good with death. I never have been. I have to be practically dragged feet-first into funeral homes. And if I attend a service – well, we were tight. (Or you and I have known each other forever and it’s to support you in a loss.)

During the past 24 hours, Death seems to be lurking everywhere I turn. Its first appearance was yesterday, via email. A colleague let me know that the husband of my friend and colleague KayO had died. I didn’t know Dale, except through KayO’s vivid accounts, both verbal and online. But you can’t help but feel bad for a friend who has suffered such a loss.

The second appearance was last night, via phone. A family friend, long suffering from a host of illnesses, had died. This was someone I did know. Someone whose home I’ve been to a thousand times. Whose children I grew up with. Yet, I couldn’t feel completely sad, knowing how much struggle had gone into the past few years. Still, I feel bad for my childhood companions. I don’t care what age you are. If you’re close to your parents, their loss is not an easy one.

Death appeared again today on the Internet – twice – via blog. One blogger, who is also a published author I admire, had just learned that one of her oldest friends had died a few days ago. Having been blessed with not yet having to deal with losing any of my contemporaries except for my cousin/faux brother, I immediately felt horrible for her.

Continuing down my blog reads, Death appeared once again. I was stunned to find that a former colleague’s father – a legendary personality in the stories I’ve read and heard – had died. Dom recounted how he’d heard the news yesterday. Like my late family friend, and KayO’s hubby, Dom’s dad had also been in declining health, ultimately going blind. Still, that doesn’t lessen the blow to them.

Dom’s stories of his dad have almost always made me laugh. Or, at the very least, shake my head. Today, they nearly made me cry. It was too much loss for people I like and/or love and it was overwhelming.

So to shake all that off, I decided I did need to take a walk. I didn’t get past the corner when I approached a group of people, obviously visitors to the city, one of whom was clutching a cell phone. The woman’s face was paste white. The rest of the group surrounded her in silence as she kept saying, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.” As I maneuvered past them, I couldn’t help but overhear one of the group members ask, “Does anyone know what happened? Do they know how he died?”

Aw. Geez. C’mon, Death. Take a freakin’ vacation already. He won’t though. Selfishly, I’m hoping I’ve been as close to him as I have to be for a while.

He’s gotten quite a collection in the past few days. Here’s hoping that KayO’s husband, Stacy’s friend, Dom’s dad, Joan, and whomever the poor guy was that was the subject of that phone call all have found one hell of a “welcome” party already in progress.


MonkeyGirl said...

Yet another reason we need to severe our brain connection - Skaterboy's best friend's boss was killed in a car accident yesterday morning. I'm so sorry for all of your losses, close or not

NV said...

Damn. There is just entirely too much dying going on. Stop. Please.

Jayne said...

I'm so sorry. Finding out from your post that Dale had passed away seemed only right, since it was your blog that led me to KayO's. She is a wonderful writer, and her post on Dale's death is very touching.

Why S? said...

My condolences. May this trend in your life now be at its end.

Ann said...

I'm so sorry. Death is a sudden, mean one - indeed. My Mom died when I was 21 - I know death intimately. Gosh, I still know it every day in fact. I hope what you've seen of it lately will be all that you see for a good, long while.

NV said...

Thanks, everyone. Here is hoping that the Walkin' Dude has walked past me, touching me only as distantly as he has. Selfish one that I am, I want to keep all the peeps I got!