A simple fact of life: some day I will die. We all will. I believe that’s a good thing. It’s a perfectly natural part of the process. Life happens, then Death happens. We claim to be enamored of the former and are so terrified of the latter that we barely speak of it, create huge swaths of seriousness and ceremony around it, and endless rules, rules, rules about how we must all respond when told someone has died (laughing is “heartless and rude”, celebratory sex is…. well, who wants to have sex “at a time like this”?, dancing is okay so long as you’re not actually joyous).
Our religious traditions create endless tales of how heavens of varying names are such beautiful, restful places far better than here, yet when someone actually makes it to this mythical place, when the transition inevitably happens we’re all seriousness and tears, often going on about how they “left us too soon”. What is too soon? Why is this a sad thing if where they went is so beautiful?
If the person is very young we really have a hard time reconciling their death. Here is where we definitely lose the plot, asking “why?” interminably. Why not? Would it really be better accepted if they lived longer, you had more time with them and then they died? Maybe, but from what I’ve seen we’re a “greedy” lot and no matter how long we’ve had with someone we love, when they die we tend to wish there had been more time with them regardless of their age.
There is always the list of what we said and shouldn’t have, what we didn’t say and wish we could have, things we wish we could have done with the newly-dead while they were alive. There is always more: more to experience in someone’s company, more to say to them, more things to explain because we spoke too harshly for various and sundry reasons, more time to love and laugh and live with them. There is never a good time, never enough time; it’s always “too soon” for the living.