At my massage the other day, I was talking to my therapist (who is also a close friend), and we were gabbing about doctors, and how they chalk things up to middle/old/whatever age, essentially recusing themselves from having to do anything to try to help you. "Useless doctors" is a favorite rant of mine, for sure. I shared an anecdote about A, and how he was a jogger, and when he went to the doctor about his knees that were bothering him on his runs, he basically got a "Whaddayawant? You're 40" kind of response. I commented that what he wanted was knees that were going to work for another 40 years, which actually turned out to be just 15 in his case.
The conversation moved on, as did the massage, and at the end, she wrapped various bits of me in hot towels and left me to relax on the table for a bit. In the solitude, I found myself staring up at the ceiling and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere (but obviously triggered by the earlier conversational topic), my mind was shouting:
You died! How can you be dead? People don't generally die at 55; it's an abnormally young age to die.
It was a visceral reaction, felt more than thought, and stunning for its unexpected intensity, and it's unexpectedness, period. Sometimes it's like living in a dream. Well, not my dreams, which are always bizarre in the extreme, but maybe someone else's, where the oddest things are accepted and taken for granted in the dreamscape when they would make no sense at all in waking life. Time, habit, and a lot of hard work have acclimated me to the bizarre occurrence (in my life, if not in the world) that was A's death. But sometimes...sometimes I wake up in the middle of it like this and realize the shock never really went away; it was just dampened for a long time. Not that I'm complaining; you can't keep going if the edge of that knife is not dulled over time. But it's always, always there.
5 years, 7 months, 12 days later, and this has not changed: I understand that this is; I will never understand why it is. It still surprises me that it's true.