It’s only been a short time. I will never forget those hours when I sat with you, on the mattress on the floor that you always loved to lie on, sat there with your head in my lap. Late afternoon fading into twilight and finally into night. Time had lost its supremacy, the power to drive me into action, for we both knew that it would not be long before you would fall asleep, forever. Although knowing is probably saying too much, because how can you know when the time has come? Where does dying begin that ends with death? It was a hunch, nothing more. It was likely, because you had reached an age that had already exceeded the statistically measured, average life expectancy. However, what do statistics say? And yet it felt like a farewell, one that would never be seen again. The balcony door was open. It was a warm day and children’s laughter sounded to us from the neighboring garden, happy, carefree children’s laughter, while I stroked you, not reflexively, but quite consciously, because I didn’t know how much longer I could do this, feel your body heat, towards you signal that I am with you until the last moment.
It was very likely, but by no means imperative. We get up, in the morning or whenever, awaken, and take it for granted. Every day anew, when we make agreements that lie in the future, we pretend to be immortal, at least we don’t think that one day we may not get up. It’s also good to believe in life, in this one, small piece of immortality in this moment, in every moment that we fill with life, living life, as I do in these hours of intimacy with you on the threshold between Life and death, be together until the end.
My thoughts involuntarily wandered back to the day you came into my life, young, fresh, unused and full of energy. A little rascal full of strange ideas. Shoes had to believe in it and also a remote control or two. This nonsense passed and I reviewed the years together. You were always there and after a very short time you became an integral part of our lives. As if it had never been otherwise. And in the now it was like never before and forever to savor what we experienced together. But I also thought that you became sicker and more frail as you grew older. It’s normal, they say, because the body is breaking down, becoming more decrepit. Life force is ending, even if we don’t want to admit it, don’t think about it. But it’s also good not to think about it. It would impede life, including impetuosity, if we didn’t keep pretending that nothing could happen to us. Mindfulness and attention focused so that the experience becomes a memory that remains, even at the end of that night from which you never woke up.
We accept life as it is given to us with all boldness, because that is how it is and nothing else and we cannot imagine it any other way. And every time death breaks into this brazen appropriation of life, it makes us stop and think. What is he doing to us? He tears us out of our self-evidence and high spirits into a deep helplessness. Why should there be death when there is life? Why is life being taken from us again, seemingly at random? And when it affects someone who held an important place in our lives, it’s like a part of ourselves has gone missing, irretrievably. Why is that allowed to be? Why is it so unfair? When old age is here – but when is old enough age to dare to say now is enough? Some sense it when it’s time to go, when they’re called away. Tired of life in the truest sense of the word. But what about all those who are snatched from life in their youth, even in their childhood, from a life that has hardly begun, that has just promised itself to end it abruptly, for whatever reason. It’s unfair – but fate is blind. Don’t care about justice. As much as we try to rebel against it, we are powerless over life as we are over death. How can it be that you are no longer where you were just a moment ago. Where does life go when it goes? Where are you lost to me? It’s not true, I won’t lose you, you’ll stay in all the memories of the moments I’ve lived, if we lived them. The bad conscience spreads. Did I really live the moments that were possible, or didn’t I let too many go by because I thought I can make up for it later or on another day because I wasn’t thinking that it would end. Life is too present until it dissolves and melts away, like time that passes, unstoppable, unrepeatable. Over is over. It’s idle thinking about what I should have done, but it teaches me all over again to do better now and now and now. Stop more often, look at you, caress you, take a deep breath, be there until that moment when life says goodbye. Even then, not to avoid it, to endure it the way you have to endure it.