Three announcements of deaths within the last week: one, a very old woman who had pretty well left her body; two, the brother of a friend after a three-week hopeless illness; three, yesterday, the husband of a close friend with no warning, as far as I know, I don't know the details yet. I am so sorry for the pain of loss suffered by close ones.
What can I say? At my age I know for a fact that no one is immortal. As my late husband used to say, "One out of one dies of something." And I have already said, keep saying, that I feel like a duck in a shooting gallery, surviving so far, but with everyone being picked off all around me, it's just a matter of time.
So it is with everyone: just a matter of time. Rather than rage against the dying of the light, I try to concentrate on what brightness there was. I really am grateful for what gleams have been granted to us. And I still say, in spite of everything, have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, however slowly. Some days are darker and slower than others.
De mortuis nil nisi bonum. About the dead, nothing but good. (I think I got that right.) That's what wakes and shivas are for, what mourning is for: to remember the good times and the good things about the most recent absentee, to honour the life that was and to cherish the memories. "What comfort is in me. If thou shouldst never see my face again pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
And prayer can take many forms. This is one of them.