As I write this, the sun is shining and the sky is as blue as it gets at 2,850 meters above sea level. It is, by all accounts, a lovely day, and it occurs to me that simultaneous to this beauty there’s a lot of decay and death occurring behind closed doors, in hospitals and other settings, unwitnessed.
This isn’t a new thought for me. It’s so odd how often we sit around contemplating the weather with strangers as something we all collectively experience, but death – sickness and death is also a shared experience, but not one we care to talk about in public, or even acknowledge its existence, most days.
While my health and youth offers me what I deem to be the apex of my existence, sickness and death do not leave me unscathed. There are plenty of people –and even pets– close to me at different stages of development and of health, and there is much deterioration that I must witness, and moments when one begins dying.
This stage of life is the inescapable reality every single living thing will experience with the decline that comes with age and failing health. It’s the black death under a blue sky that I live through sometimes – not personally (yet) — but I do watch it silently in others around me.
How many of us are going through the same thing?
Modern medicine and technology have allowed for so many advances in life expectancy, overall health, and quality of life – even in the face of chronic conditions or terminal diseases. It is easy to forget that death and dying are ever present. Personally, I’m not afraid of death, or whatever may come after; dying, however, is a whole different experience.
With all of the joy of life, come the undocumented moments of pain, loss and death – perhaps in equal abundance. Small or life-changing catastrophes, after another, in a continuous cycle of happiness and grief, ever present together like light and shadows.