A good friend of mine lost his Grandfather recently. He was not without grief or a sense of loss but he understood the occurrence and his inability to change it. I have an appreciation for anything so stoic, anything that I think Marcus Aurelius would’ve done, so it’s no surprise that I found my friend to be dignified and just in his response.
I am no stranger myself to loss. My father passed when I was young, the same year my Grandma did. I was in the sixth grade and I can honestly say my life changed forever, it was the most profound thing that’s probably ever happened to me. Anyone who’s lost someone close to them knows this feeling and it can only really be guessed at before it becomes the awful truth – that’s what makes it so horrible.
It is not that death itself is not already bad, or that it’s anything but that, but I am talking here about the effects that death has on life. These two things which are the most diametrically opposed entities in the capacity of human thought. In my opinion, it is with death that we learn how valuable life is and so we learn in turn how awful death is. It’s not something in and of itself but rather a pull on the inertia of living. When someone you love, someone you thought about throughout your day with happiness, passes, you can never reclaim what once was as it has gone over to death, a state from which nothing returns. Nothing ever becomes of death but death, another slightly digressive idea but related all the same. It’s destruction and ruination which scares me more than anything in life, so death scares me.
I would like all the Sunday Socrates’ to sit down, I am aware of his ideas on fearing death but I find them a little too circumspect. No one should fear death itself, sure, fine, but it’s the result of death that I fear. The result that everything that has been worked at will be lost, given time. Anything and everything will be caput at some point – look at all the things more formidable than any book I could write that have been annihilated, planets, stars, entire peoples. That’s what scares me. Not death but it’s analogue that does not require life to exist and breathe.
To some it’s chaos, entropy, fate. It’s this void that we leave, that’s what frightens me. I don’t usually think on such moribund things but I have had ample reason. I want my void to last longer than my father’s, maybe that’s my life goal. To leave more people touched by my kindness, to leave more people happy. Given my stoic idealizations, it should be no surprise that I think about humans so much. I just want people to say, like my friend said of his Grandfather, ‘I’m glad I was around him, while he was around’.