27 Oct 2014
You can reconcile with death, partly because it is choiceless. Just as the claws of an eagle that hold fast its prey, death holds you captive. Its clasp is firm and its strike, final. When the errand is done, it leaves behind nothing, just as the flight of the eagle does not, either. The inevitability of this fate at once justifies the seeming absurdity of life.
In contrast, dying is tougher to reconcile with. Unlike death whose move is abrupt, the abject process of dying invites you into its hold and imposes its contours on your unwilling person. Its biggest triumph is in putting you against yourself. One part clings to the hope of surviving so you can return to the familiar; the other is strangled to give in. In this very ambivalence, dying and living merge as a continuum.
What you are familiar with, you realise, is not life but living. The only thing that needs to be understood, if you must understand life, is death.