We miss you, Matey

Death, in a simple way, clear to all, is final. The finality of it marks out our lives with its heavy rhythm and in time, each and every one of us feels the weight of its beat. At times, it’ll be little more than a rumble; a quivering, that makes us pause and look up from our life (we see nothing unexpected… a man, phone in hand, walking his dog…the afternoon sunlight shafting through the poplars and across the car park…someone reversing into a tiny spot…birdsong), think about giving our mum a call, or picking up something sweet for dinner on the way home. At other times, the shock of its sudden coming blasts us from our life trance, and shakes us down. Its sonorous boom stops us, well, dead.

When someone has gone, that is the last we shall see of them, there’s no denying it. And yet, beyond the deceased themselves, it also cannot be denied that death is not the end. We attempt to push aside any loss we might feel with glibness – he had a good innings, one out, one in, she’s at peace now, no more demons, life goes on – and even as we hear or spout these platitudes, we are aware that they are hollow and merely a mechanism to help us understand and manage our grief. They perhaps also work to mask the awful glimpse we have at those times of our own mortality.

Yes, life goes on, and so does death, and so does life, and so does death… The cycle is universal and eternal. The baton is passed and carried and passed… it is the way of the world and we will all have our turn. Before we pass we will carry and, if we’re lucky, we will carry for a long, long time. And when we carry, what we are carrying are the memories of all who have gone before us; their lives, their times; their essence.

And the longer we carry, the bigger the load. We keep alive the past by thinking about it, and fondly recounting its tales. Tales of adventure, high emotion, magic, and loss; the art of lives lived. We do it because it is what makes life go on; makes the dead live. We do it because that’s the fabric of the bonds we have with the ones we love; the things we know and the things we share. We do it because there is duty and desire, and reason and truth. We do it because that’s what love is. Love is grief and grief is love.

Death is heart-breaking, grief is restorative, love is both.

So long, Tim... travel well.

See you on the other side.

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