Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Breaking and Binding
Some death comes gradually. You see it as a shoreline, and watch a man move slowly toward it as you wonder and hope that the tide will turn. During your watching you begin to let go. You remember, you appreciate, and you prepare while stretching your arms across the widening waves.
But not all death is this way. Some death comes suddenly. Shockingly sudden. One moment you are hand in hand. You are doing the dishes, making grocery lists and planning dinner for the weekend. Then you blink and the one you love is gone. Your eyes search the shoreline in vain for one last glimpse of them. There was no time to prepare.
Death parts people, but it also draws them together. When death comes we rush with our arms widespread to try to fill a hole to keep a ship from sinking. Dozens, even hundreds of lives weave together to try to be present because one life is gone. But the hole is not filled. It cannot be. That is the miracle of life. That every life is irreplaceable.
In the earliest hours of Monday morning friends of mine lost a daddy and a husband. This was the ripping sort of death. The kind no one sees coming. I feel shaken. I feel shaken watching them shake. Sitting around their dining table last night over chicken salad and fruit I watched their full faces. Faces full of everything you can feel. How can someone be so full and so empty at the same time?
Today all I can think of is my two friends curled beside their mother on the master bed. Pieced together like shattered vases, trying to make something whole. I think of them and cry. I cry at the utterly unexpected parting. At the finality. For their pain. I also cry as I see all the unexpected uniting, the drawing together and the outpouring of love.
Death breaks so much apart, but also binds so much together.
Posted by Jamie Laslo at 7:27 PM