Tuesday, June 4, 2013

... and Everyone Will Lift their Heads

There is this quote I cannot get out of my mind as of late...

Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight       
                              -Rossiter W Raymond

For as long as I can remember I have been interested in death. I remember reading book after book at my grandparent's house about people who had died and then returned to the earth. I read religious and nonreligious books on the matter including a few about reincarnation. Even now, if I think about the shows I enjoy they are things like Psych, Monk, Bones... these shows do not interest me because of the murders, but rather the idea that a person's life can be summed up so quickly... over in one moment. I love looking at a person's life, and seeing who they were, what was important to them, what they believed about themselves and the world around them.

It seems fitting, and almost ironic to me that the place I sat and read so many books about death is the first place I experienced it. I was almost nine and my little sister and I had stayed the night at my grandparent's because my brother was having a birthday party at our house, no girls allowed. My grandpa had gotten up early to go take care of some Boy Scout stuff. My sister and I have always woke up early. Emily loved to cuddle up to our grandma, but I could never sit still long enough to snuggle up for more than a few minutes. I watched cartoons in the living room and soon Emily came in and sat next to me, she was upset and I asked her what was wrong, she said "Momo is acting weird." (We called our grandma Momo). I am not sure what happened next, except I went to go check on our grandma, I knew something was wrong, and I knew that I should call for help. But something stopped me. She looked so peaceful, I didn't want to disturb her. So I went back to the living room and I kept watching cartoons. 

I remember hearing the most awful sound... somewhere between a scream and a cry for help. I can tell you what the breaking of a heart sounds like, it has been with me since that day. My grandpa had come home and found my grandma dead. 

I remember thinking about all the books I had read while sitting on my grandparent's floral couch. I remember that none of them had talked about the heartbreak of the people who are left behind. I remember wishing I had not left my grandma looking so peaceful because it left my grandpa so devastated.

I know my grandparents will be reunited one day, and I even knew that then. But at the time it didn't mitigate the heartache and the sadness. It didn't make me feel less guilty for what I now know was out of my control. Death is a strange thing, it can bring so much peace and hurt all at the same time. Which is why I love that quote, it is a gentle reminder that the hurt and heartache come from my limited sight and those things that are truly important, that really matter... those are the bits of this limited life that are immortal.