For the longest time it came as a quiet sort of anguish, something I dreaded and feared. The thought would leave me awake some nights or draw me into bouts of deep sadness, believing that finding the woman I’d long dreamed of would end as a curse. It came as a quiet revelation that it was indeed a blessing rather than a curse.
There is no more profound moment in a life than the moment we pass from this world. The culture of our lives and thoughts arc slowly towards that moment, informing more and more the preparations for those who will be left behind, for resolutions to responsibilities and some accounting of the dreams we held and the lives we lived. For some that is a bitter experience, while others content themselves with the lives lived and those they loved. Such things are blessings, for tragedy, loneliness and loss are most definitely an aspect to life.
No doubt such thoughts can overwhelm even the best among us. I hail from a large family, with lots of Aunts and Uncles, all of them salt-of-the-earth folks, and very tightly knit. But as som of them have passed on the grief and its accompanying thoughts have threatened to destroy some of them, causing them to close themselves off or retreat to bitterness and substance abuse. I can hardly fault them, but would wish not to take that path in life.
Inescapable is the eventuality that one day we will leave or lose the partner we have chosen to spend that life with and with whom we recreate are dreams in accommodation. It seems the cruelest fate, that life or God or calamity would be so cruel. And so, for the longest time I lived dreading that eventuality, before finally realizing that it is indeed a blessing that we should all hope for and endeavor to retain.
It is all too easily to feel alone in our bodies, feeling though as fate can be shared, but ultimately it is ours alone. Cynics, and I have been among them, would say that we are born alone and we die alone. I have famously remarked, “between birth and death, we are just killing time.” We live, we hope, we succumb to our delusions about life and we die alone, or so I believed.
Marriage and loving relationships save us from that sad end, or exalt us to guides and saviors for those who pass before us. What a blessing it is that someone should be there to comfort us, or to love us until that inescapable moment. More selfless is the comfort we can bring, guiding and loving someone towards that moment, for if we ar truly blessed then none of us is alone at the end and we will not allow those we love to tak that final step alone.
Imagine that a whisper can rescue someone from the natural terror and anxiousness at the end of life. Imagine that your loving eyes are the last image, a confirmation-an exclamation!-that they were truly loved, and that is the blessing and hope we all wish for. That may be the one you have loved for a lifetime, or a stranger just the same.
These thoughts, truly and honestly rendered affirm the best of every religion, but more importantly transcends the body. For it is only about love and two people, or a family at the most intimate and personal moment of their lives. It erases the foolishness in arguments about gay marriage by reducing it down to assertions of mercy and humanity. At that moment there is one morality, that of simple human love and decency and peace.
I will surely grieve and I am hardly eager for that day, but I have a new perspective on what it will mean and my responsibility when it does finally come, and isn’t that the ultimate measure of a life, how we come to our responsibilities, and what greater responsibility do we really have but for love?