In honor of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, I have something to say.
Death is part of the story. It’s not the end of the story. Sometimes, it’s not even the worst part.
Carrie died the way we all want to die, if we know what’s good for us. Death came to her mid-stride, on her way from one plan to another. She never outlived her ability to do what she loved.
My husband, who’s spent uncounted hours with aging veterans, says most of them don’t fear death. What they fear is boredom. They fear that last step off the ship onto dry, civilian land, where their chance to make a difference suddenly evaporates. Once they were part of the human race, moving, deciding, conquering, saving. Now they are standing still, with nothing left to do but say goodbye, over and over again, to their memories.
And what about Debbie? I doubt she saw death coming. One reports says she was at her son’s house, talking over the funeral. But if she had a last conscious thought, it might well have been the same one that all of us parents had when we heard the news: “Good. Carrie will be there waiting.”
If there is any meaning in the world, there is a God. And if there is a God, nothing is outside of meaning. Death is a constant. Someone is dying now, and now, and now. We mourn the deaths we know and forget the enormous current of reality swirling around us. When we remember it, we struggle and grieve because we can’t control it, and the struggle blinds us.
Even if we stand completely still, listening and watching with the most concentrated intensity, we can’t exceed the boundaries of our human consciousness.
So we forget, every day, that almost everything lies outside those boundaries.