The rain tapers off. Sun seeps through the clouds. Rafe made it
through another night, so fragile, so delicate.
Death sits in the room. He sits here with me and Rafe like another
person, waiting patiently. There’s not much to say – lots of awkward
pauses. A lump rises in my throat and won’t go away. Death is too
large a presence. He’s not friendly, or menacing, but he holds too
many profound secrets to fit in one room with us.
I can’t breathe – I have to take Rafe outside. Death is much less
imposing, less devastating, less final on a clearing spring day.
This is one more gift from Rafe to us – to reintroduce us to
death. Death used to be more familiar to us. People used to die at
home – pets, too. But we’ve become too eager to send him away, to
the hospital, to ‘professionals’, and we learn nothing.
If we do invite him into our homes, what does he have to teach?
I suspect it’s different for everyone, but for me, just sitting in
the presence of something so intimately connected to every life,
as old as life itself, puts everything into its place.
What’s timeless, deep and still – eternal – fills the room. My
appetites – my desires – are trivial and unimportant. TV’s
incessant nagging for attention, irritating and desperate, is empty
noise, is off.
The only thing big enough to stay here with me – with me and Rafe
and Death – is Love. My love for Rafe is as big as Death, and
just as old. In fact, I think it’s bigger and older than Death.
Love is eternal, and a great comfort – much easier to talk to, to
sit quietly with, than Death.