It's that circle of life thing going again. A couple of events that haven't directly affected me, but in reading up on Facebook the last couple of days, there's been the joyous occasion of a birth, and the sad occurrence of a death.
A friend of my family, who herself was the last of seven and born when her dear mom was 42, has had her first child. I had to look just now - she's 41. In my mind she stays a teenager. Little Corrine is absolutely gorgeous. OK, most babies are, but she's very cute.
And another person I know through my friend D is grieving the death of her dad. It looks like they knew it was coming, but that doesn't make the loss any easier to process. Grief is a wacky thing. You go on automatic pilot for the first couple of weeks. It's busy because there are arrangements to make, lots of people to interact with, people bring food - it's its own whirlwind routine for a bit. Then everyone goes home. Then, it creeps up on you and you weep in the produce section of the grocery store for a little bit, and then are OK.
When my sister died, I was practically begging death to come, she was suffering so much. We were all there when she died, and after she passed, I stayed for the wake, but fled home before the funeral. Looking back, I made the excuse that I had been traveling for a couple of weeks (which I had) and needed to get back home. I just had to leave, and still feel guilty about that.
So I guess the point is that it is important to bear witness. To take the long view and acknowledge that these major changes occur to all of us. I'm of the opinion that these events have a similar effect on us. Meaning, we all share some common ground in how we feel when someone dies. Or when there is a wanted child welcomed into the world.
Life IS short. There's a song by John Hiatt called Slow Turning (the link is to a live performance on the Letterman show). There's a line that goes
"Time is short and here's the damn thing about it,
you're gonna die, gonna die for sure.
You can learn to live with love or without it, but there ain't no cure."
I think paying a little attention to the passings of the people around us helps to ground our own experience. And before I wax too weird and philosophical, I will end this post.