In The Present


When someone dies, when you die, a small temporary enterprise converges. There is an entire industry about the process transition from being to memory, from breath to air, from one to a fraction as everything about you fades. Most of this new division of humanity organizes itself along familial and friendly lines, in short order producing things that no one likely expected — a performance, a reading, a collection of images, a design on a folding sheet of paper.

I didn’t know this woman from Eve at all this morning, but after taking a phone call and designing her program of remembrance, I’d walked some small journey with her at the end of her life, adjusting and smoothing her portrait, just past the precipice. It had been a small favor and a small bit of work, and I had recognized in that celebration narrative the small yet perpetual responsibility we hold to one another, in the present. To spend a bit of time at the end of this stranger and the organizing those around her came together — that secret glimpse behind the veil of what comes next for each of us, eventually, when we move on. 

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