Common knowledge predisposes us to the ups and downs of human existence. The mere coincidence that we live puts each being on this Earth at the mercy of forces beyond control. One day you may be working and playing, minding your business. And the next? The earth could shift and destroy your home. A storm could sweep away everything you cherish. A wrong turn could end your lucky streak. In a day, an hour, an instant, your mood, your health, your well being, and even your life could change.
I think one of the most difficult experiences a person can feel is knowing death is imminent. I do not speak of the inevitable death we all will share. I certainly do not spend my days thinking about my own demise. (Though I spend much of it attempting to prolong my life.) I mean watching a friend die slowly. When you know the end of your days together is too close, when every word, every nod, every touch brings back the horrible memory that this friend’s body is failing him for the final time, the sadness can overtake you.
It can be so hard to put on the happy face. You can try not to think about it. Other people may try to cheer you up. You might over-compensate, forcefully constructing new memories between you at the end. But spending the extra time cannot slow down or stop the ascent of nothingness – the end of consciousness.
It doesn’t matter if this friend is human, feline, or canine. Life’s most precious gift can also be its curse. Years of unconditional love and friendship make the end of it all so much more tortuous. The greater the years, the freer the tears. And there are just so many of them.
I know that death is a part of life. But does great knowledge ease the pain of losing a friend? Can immense wisdom alleviate this affliction the specter of death has brought upon me?
Death is life. We don’t have to like it. We don’t even have to accept it. We just have to deal with it.