Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mama Bean doesn't understand why we say someone "lost their life"

How does a person "lose" their life, anyway?

Does it fall away silently, like a mitten tucked under an arm while performing an intricate task, unnoticed until frozen fingers wonder where it went? And then it's long gone, blocks back, hidden by slush and snow piles...

Is it forgotten, like that special card with the heartfelt note, stashed in a box or a folder, somewhere safe, always somewhere safe? But then the safe place is reorganized, shuffled to a different corner of the filing cabinet, the closet, the basement...

Is it forgotten, like a phone number or an address, scribbled on a scrap of paper, on a receipt for gas, on an envelope from yet another pre-approved credit card offer that noone needs, because we've all got all the credit cards we need? And then the scrap is folded too small, crumpled too roughly, ignored and swept up, in the unending detritus of daily life...

People don't just lose their lives. There's always a process, an event; for lack of a better word, there's a reason, even if we don't know it, can't see it, won't accept it.

It would make more sense to say I lost their life. It is me who has lost the life of that person, that person I loved. It is I who didn't hear them slip away silently from wherever I had tucked them into my life, while I went about whatever I found so important. It is I who tried to stash them somewhere safe and protected, and allowed that false sense of security to excuse my inattention. It is I who hastily wrote them in and out of my thoughts, remembering then forgetting to send a birthday card, a thank you note, a Christmas letter. Until there were no more cards or letters to send.

It is we who remain that lose the lives of those who die.

And indeed, we are lost without them.

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