Monday, July 07, 2014

Death in the Morning

Beyond the Waters
News of a death with my morning routine today. The person lay outside my normal circle of friends, so even now I don't have all of the details. The obituary section of the KC Star website is such a horrible intersection of bad design, slow updates, and intrusive advertising that I'm not sure I'll be able to get anything out of it for another month.

It wasn't a particular surprise, this death. It happened in the way deaths often do in this time. A cancer diagnosis, years back, that led to treatments and time away from the job. Then no news. Is that good news? Or bad?

Then a blunt mention on a random day last month.

"Do you know So-and-so?"
I answer, "Yeah, I do."
"They're in hospice care and fading fast, I hear."

Just that. A incongruous mention right before sitting down to perform a concert of music. Is... that all?

And then play. Make music, unaffected by just hearing that it's near the end of life for a person who always treated me well. Sometimes music is akin to acting -- a performer must perform "in character," regardless of what has just happened.

I know the spouse, but I was not close enough to either to warrant going to the funeral. And the death is likely to fade from my consciousness with a speed that would seem callous, were the time known and told to me. A day? A week? A month? How soon is acceptable to put someone aside?

Yet it must happen. We know too many people, and carrying around the fresh and throbbing memories of the fallen can lead only to madness. The world moves on, and so must we. The advice changes as one nears the epicenter of family and love, but even then: grief should not be eternal. To live with the stems of death ever-green is to fail to live one's own life.

And so farewell to my friend and associate. A life over too soon. May we who knew them carry the best parts of them forward to the rising sun and into the days beyond.

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