Knocking on the Door

Beltane                                                                             New Last Frost Moon

There are times and this is one of them, when death seems behind every door.  My friend Bill has learned that his wife’s cancer is stage 4.  A grave diagnosis with a grave prognosis.   American’s exult in the streets over the death of Osama Bin Laden.  A friend sent out a quote from Martin Luther King* that expressed my feelings.  Today Vega, one of our younger dogs, tested positive for Lyme’s disease.  Not a big deal, treatable, unless the kidney is involved.  Hers may be.  If it is?  Difficult to impossible to treat.

Since I started today already in somewhat of a funk, all this darkness hovering around has reinforced it, made the day two or three shades grayer.

Death does not surprise us.  It lurks beside us all our born days until the last one.  Its reality, its starkness, its finality, especially that last one, passing from the quick to the dead, still strike heavy hammer blows to the heart.

Death’s most severe wounds come from the source of our greatest joy, love.  Without love death counts only as an incident, something happening to someone else, an event of little consequence.  We know this each day we read the obituary pages.  Even the death of someone we have known, but not loved, does not shake us at our foundations.  When, however, death comes to call for one close and important in our lives, the very bound of love lacerates the heart, accelerates our fear, amplifies our sense of loss.

Having lost my mother at age 17 I know too well the darkness of grief, the inconsolable world which death can fling around us.  Each dog, no matter how expected their death, has wounded me.  No, I agree with King, I, too, will not rejoice at the death of even an enemy.  Why?  Because each man’s death is the death of every man; each woman’s death the death of every woman.  Though we do not feel loss with a death does not mean it happens without causing loss and grief for others.

Each death is an apocalypse, a world ends, never to be reborn.

This is the point where an observation about spring and the germination of plants, animals jumping and running, brooks cut free from the chill stop of ice, skies filled with warm sunshine might be inserted.  Not this time.

There was a moment for me though, on my trip to the vet’s to pick up Vega, when I saw two young girls on roller blades, laughing and eating ice cream cones.  They reminded me that life conquers death, not in an individual instance, never then, but in the whole life has found a way to prevent the ultimate finality. How?  That tomorrow, and today is such a tomorrow for me, for example, after my mother’s death, that tomorrow a young boy will hit a baseball and slide into first base, a couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, puppies will be born, music of a certain jaunty air will fill the car and that true resurrection, the ongoingness of life and its manifold expressions will occur as it has and as it shall.

That’s enough.  For me.

*” I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives,
but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ”
– M.L. King Jr.

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