While my grandfather laid still in the funeral parlor, some years back, what bothered me most was not that a man I knew all my life was dead, but that the loudest man in the room was quiet.
Arguably there is a part missing inside me, one that triggers deep attachment, but this is how I've always been: the dramatic is missed more than the familiar, initially, the known taking its time to lodge inside and register its loss. Today I learned of the death of an intense man I knew just well enough to miss. He's been gone a couple months now, which doesn't seem possible.
I had just been reading about a woman whose sister was given three months to live, and who died three months later, nearly to the day. I took on the age old question: what would I do if I knew how much time was left? We pose such hypotheses thinking we'll start doing the thing now, just in case. But I wouldn't; not without that license. And so life churns on, indefinitely until it does not.
I looked up the man's obituary online, and found that others felt as I did: touched by what they recognized was a unique soul. Back to the question: how can we let such people know how we feel before the news comes? This man needed to hear more of what was said too late, I know this.
What can we say, while we can, and what should we do, while there's time?