These days, death doesn’t seem to impact me the way that it used to. I don’t view it so conclusively anymore - like the finishing of a book that one can never re-open. I don’t see it as that finalized. Instead, I see it as an exchange - not unlike that of a conversation. A give and take. A trading of energy between the dead, and those who it has touched - a conversation lasting an entire life time - long after the passing of a beloved. A silent dialogue that belongs only between you, and them. A murmur of the most private level - that no other ear can ever pick up on.
You learn as much from them leaving, as you do when they are just being.
I think people wonder how I managed to stay so calm after the passing of my father. It’s both rude, and strange of me to admit - but I’m so happy that he is dead. In place of distance, I in fact feel closer to him than ever before. As though he sacrificed himself on purpose, so as to give me strength. And for that, I am grateful - in a way that’s simply impossible for me to state in words. At least not in a way that can be transmitted orally - in a way for others to comprehend.
A couple hours ago, we put my dog of 14 years to sleep. His name was Pepper. Once something has been in your life for that long, it easy to forget about the span of time they’ve stuck by your side for. I think about how far I’ve come between the ages of 15, to 29. And he was there for nearly all of it.
I made sure to cancel all of my weekend plans to go up to Connecticut to pay him a visit one last time. I’m very happy that I was able to feed him one final ice-cream bar right before he was injected with the anesthesia. I was there every step of the way - at least as many as I could reasonably take with him to the other side.
Yeah it’s a sad day, but I’m not crying profusely. I’m not screaming “Why? Why?” I’m so grateful to have known a dog like him for so long that it would almost be ungrateful to mourn his loss. This occasion calls for celebration - so that’s what I’d rather do. Cheers to you Pepper. You’ve lived a full life, and I got to know you in mine. What more can I ask for?
In a strange way, I can’t wait - to one day be a witness of the place where all of my loved ones are going. I look forward to that day with honest curiosity as opposed to panic, or apprehension. Perhaps it’s because I’ve come to realize that this life is all an illusion - an intangible dream. Something that doesn’t warrant the seriousness we often project onto it. The fact that we were born and made it this far is just as much of a miracle as it is a joke. A confounding joke of the most impossible probability. Yet, it happened. We’re here. And we’re all still in touch -beyond and after.
So let’s laugh with the dead, and gaze our eyes into the light - in appreciation of the darkness.
(Originally Published 7/4/18)