I’m not in the business of writing obituaries. As much as I consider myself a realist and someone who is aware of the inevitability of life, I don’t like to think about death.
Let me rephrase that: I think about death all the time, but I don’t find it pleasant. When walking my children to school*, I often wonder if today is going to be the day when a car will finally brake a second too late. I wonder if my reaction time will be quick enough to throw myself in front of the ten-year old. If I’ll be able to sacrifice myself with enough speed so that he can go on and live a fulfilling life as the civil engineer I know he can be, if he can ever get his ADHD under control.
For that matter, every morning one of my first thoughts (non-libidinous or non-work-anxiety-related category) is to wonder if I’m alive and then whether the rest of my family is alive. Maybe I’m just a little sick? Should I ask a therapist about this?
When my cat went through her entire sad and gross ordeal with a cyst that would keep filling and then dripping all over the house, and when said cyst then got infected –all the while, trying to give her a daily regimen of thyroid medication so she could hold on tight to the weight that kept leaving her tiny 6-lb. frame– I would often check to see if she was still alive. I’d bury my ear in her little furry flank and listen for a heartbeat. The cat must have thought I was more insane than usual. “Here comes the daft human to wake me the hell up again. I AM STILL ALIVE, ASSHOLE, and yes, I drank out of your water glass last night after cleaning my butt. Again.”
But as much as I obsess about death coming to visit, when it actually comes, I am not ready. I was certainly not ready to lose a friend on Friday when I read a tweet saying that someone had been killed while biking on Florida Avenue. And, it seems, no one was ready to find out who he was.
Death is funny like that. You think you can be ready for it –by meditating, by anticipating, by drawing up elaborate schemes trying to figure out how it will happen and what you can do to prevent it, to mitigate it, to channel the sheer power of human folly away from yourself and those you love. But then, when it finally comes, it’s like Thetis holding beautiful Achilles by the heel all over again. He was invincible everywhere, except for the one little spot where his mother held fast on to him so the river Styx wouldn’t carry him away to his death.
Goodbye, dear Dave Salovesh. I wrote something over at the other blog. You can read it here.
(*Or, well, only one these days because the other one is a little too cool for that activity… hey, long-time readers, remember when he was Herr Meow? And the little one, Don Meow? Give me a second. I’m off to smell the baby clothes I’ve put away, realize they smell like baby puke, re-evaluate the saving of souvenirs, and realizing I could eat. BRB)