I will be attending another funeral tomorrow. There have been too many lately, starting with my father's in 2006 followed by another funeral that year for a young client of mine who was killed in a car accident, a funeral for a friend, then my mother's memorial service in 2007, and my uncle's service in 2008. Tomorrow's funeral is for another client, a doctor who was jovial and good-natured and will be missed.
I have gone into a sort of of zone each time I attend a funeral or memorial service, a zone of deep thought and reverie. It is so hard to wrap one's mind around the concept of death and to imagine not being here. I ponder how my house would still be here, my toothbrush, my books, my clothes, but not me. It is so very clear to me now that I won't get out alive, and that has made being here so very poignant. Our lives take place in a departure lounge of sorts, some of us leaving soon, others in a matter of years, still others have decades before they embark on the big journey to the big beyond. But sooner or later we all have to leave. Presidents, paupers, celebrities, royalty, next door neighbors, loved ones, millions of complete strangers, all of us, all of us depart at some point.
Somehow the even playing field, as far as death is concerned, seems to set up an entirely different set of priorities in my life, one that enhances life immeasurably. Living in this departure lounge, not knowing when my departure or anyone else's might be announced, becomes an exercise in mindfullness and reverence. Some things become more important, others less so, but everything takes on a different aura and is worthy of closer examination. Our commonality, as regards our mortality or anything else for that matter, so far outweighs any perceived differences we have. We are all in this, whatever this is, together. All of us. Curiously, that is of tremendous comfort to me.