I'm still reeling a bit from the news of Natasha Richardson's death. I'm sorry you'll have to bear with me a little longer, before I can write about word count and quirky kids.
I'm reminded of Princess Diana's death 11 years ago. As I was promising myself I'd pray for the two boys left behind, I remembered doing the same for Diana's two boys. The women strike a similar chord with me, and the deaths both seem tragic and senseless. This one less evil, to be sure, but still the same pang of just wrongness.
My three year old is afraid of dying all the time now. She comes downstairs and tells us "I'm afwaid for my life." Afraid the house will fill with smoke and self destruct, or that there's a nightmare lurking in her closet, or a creepy noise outside means danger. She's old enough to understand that she could die, and too young to live with that knowledge.
But I wonder if we ever live with it well. I think we feel, deep down, that death is not beautiful, or peaceful, but achingly, jarringly wrong. We feel it even when our dog dies.
C.S. Lewis said "Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."
So, I'm still sad, for Liam Neeson and those two boys and the rest of us who open our hearts up at all to the tragedy that is loving another person, fragile in their mortality.
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
2 days ago