Death is theft.
The death of a kitten is ghastly grand theft.
I respectfully part ways with those who say that death is natural and good and right. I’ll give you “natural,” maybe. But something in us knows that death is wrong.
Death is theft.
Death should not be.
Something screams out, through our loudest wails and most reasonable reflections, that things are not as they ought to be. Death shatters us, because we were not built for it. On some level we know this.
When it’s the death of one young and small and new, we know it all the way down to our burbling blood.
I don’t have the words to describe watching Sabine fade. Her extraordinary foster mom, Jess, will be paying tribute to her on this blog in the near future, but meantime I find myself fumbling for words, needing to speak of this great, tiny, galaxy-sized life that was. I can’t shake her. I can’t forget her. I can’t quite move past pondering her up in my heart.
Stricken with a storage disease, the same wretched diagnosis that stole Maitreya and Beamer and Tyke, Sabine had an incurable foe. Her days were filled with wonder and larger-than-life love in the care of Jess and her family.
But her days were shorter than they should have been, and they ended with a peaceful passing that felt like a war lost.
We all grieve differently, and the older I get, the more loosely I hold my explanations. My comfort is a feisty faith that love is stronger than death, that the very wrong wrong we feel at “goodbye” will be made right by life everlasting.
It’s comfort. But sometimes, to be honest, it doesn’t help much in the hour of agony.
And so we grieve, wail, reach beyond the place words and propositions can go.
My words fail in the face of such a shredding loss, so I’ll close with a poem that tells more truth than any Band-Aid platitudes.
Until we meet again, Sabine, walk in the love that many waters cannot quench.
Tis a Fearful Thing
by Judah Halevi
Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.
To remember this brings painful joy.
Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.