There’s nothing in the world which teaches me to appreciate life quite the way death does.
When I was young, death seemed so far off for me that it didn’t seem real. Although I have a vivid memory of seeing the body of a man who had just been killed when I was about 10, that didn’t seem like something that could happen to me. It was only years later that I really found meaning in that.
I was one of the lucky ones who never had anybody in his life die other than the people we expect. My mother’s father died when I was about 5. I remember going to the funeral home and touching his cold body, but death didn’t seem surprising with an older person. All the other deaths I saw in the coming years were older people who were related to me. Not a one seemed surprising or “too soon.”
Some people experience a rough early introduction to death — especially those who unexpectedly lose a parent, a sibling or a close friend — but for me, death was almost an abstract concept.
Until the last few years. Death seems very real to me now.