At some point during the aging process, it is said, each individual death becomes every death. You grow older, a relative dies, a friend dies, someone you work with dies, somebody somewhere dies. One way or another, Death is brought to your attention and then, by some alchemical process, confronting that specific instance of mortality triggers memories of every other death: your parents’, their parents’, your aunts’ and uncles’, the girl behind you in French class whose car slid out of control, the staff member who was found days after she’d collapsed in her kitchen, the retired colleague who lay down for a nap and never got back up. The specific gets swallowed up by the universal. Waves of grief rise and fall, ebb and flow, and before you know it, you’re in the Valley of Darkness, slogging along, alone.
For most of us, the grief eventually gives way and, without really noticing it, we find ourselves back in the daily grind, experiencing the everlasting indifference the living have for the dead.
Life does, indeed, go on, though at times it may seem nothing more than a roach-like life, one that skitters off and then takes flight into the darkness.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.