Monday, April 19, 2021

Someone died yesterday

Someone I've never met whose name is in my diary and whom I saw from a distance died yesterday.

Someone I've never met whom I saw from a distance died yesterday.

Someone I've never met died yesterday.

Someone died yesterday.

Why is it that no matter how many steps removed I may be from someone, the pain of their loss hits so hard?

I've thought about death a lot since I was a child. I had no choice. At 15, I lost my mother before anyone else I knew had died. I still have not fully reckoned with her passing. I don't expect myself to ever truly be at peace with it.

That makes sense. No one would fault me for never fully recovering from the traumatizing loss of a parent at a young age. But why is it that I cry even for the dead I've never met?

One year ago, I was sitting and watching a swing band perform. I saw this band often, their live music a salve to my stress and a way to discover "new" old music. When I became indefinitely stuck at home, I turned on their music to remind me of the beautiful ordinary moments of the before times.

I never met the leader of the band, but his crooning radiated through my body from loud speakers on Saturday nights. His titular band's name featured in my diary entries. His voice filled my room for a year to remind me of home when home no longer felt homey enough.

Why would I miss someone I have never met? Why would I think about them and worry about the children they left behind and the legacy they won't continue to build?

An entire year has passed spent thinking of the people I will never meet. Whether I knew them well, saw them from across the room, passed them without noticing, or never inhabited the same space at all, they existed. Existed with an -ed. I lament that. I try not to beat myself up for it.

Death does not feel inevitable at any given moment. But when it arrives, the reality of it is inescapable. The sadness is all consuming. The lost potential is a heavy weight.

No matter how close or how far away it hits, it never hurts any less.