I went for a walk in the river valley this morning. I was thinking about aging and loss and death. I have several elderly friends and relatives in their 80s; most are struggling in some way. One friend wrote me in his most recent letter that “Mr. Alzheimer” is visiting him more often now. Another lives with severe chronic pain when he walks. All live with the loss of life-long friends and loved ones. I feel at my age as if this part of life has just come into view. A former workmate and friend died from a massive stroke last winter while on holiday with her daughter. She was only 54. Another colleague from writing and editing circles died Saturday afternoon. She was 56.
As I walked this morning and the ravens wheeled and squawked overhead, I was thinking about all these people, about the why of life and death. The frozen river had no response. Only the sun, which seems to not to have been seen for months, dared to shine, so bright. As if the dark and cloud and falling snow of winter had fled in the night. Then I thought of something else, what a friend to the woman who died Saturday wrote after her last visit Friday and as witness to the passing: “It is a mystery.” And that was all and everything that could be said.