So--a friend of mine died about a week ago. She died on a Saturday, of a brain anyeurism, and her husband let us know almost at random with an email I almost didn't read. Her funeral was on Friday. A surreal experience, for me, since it was an open casket--she's literally never looked better--and my only associations with funeral home visitations on dark winter nights is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Alas: she did not come back from the dead. She was the same age as I am, with children the same age as my children. She was a tough, funny, odd, unique, cranky, fierce person--I've never met anyone like her, actually. She told me she came from a narrow-minded, punitive, appalachian type family. She married into an upper class intellectual and, as far as I can see, quite wealthy, academic family but remained an outsider her whole life. My sense was that she hated them, and they hated her. She was an accomplished poet, which I found out after knowing her for about ten years. She loved my younger daughter, who she identified with and cheered on since the little one was in third grade.
This is the second big death of someone our age, in our social circle, in a few months. One left a widow with two adolescent daughters, the other has left a widower with a girl and a boy of the same ages. Both were sudden, absolutely sudden. It certainly focuses your mind on your own mortality--especially given that both couples had been together approximately as long as Mr. Aimai and I have. Is there some expiration date coming that we are unaware of?
At any rate here's a line I just came across and it seemed apposite:
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 1929
US author & journalist (1899 - 1961)