Yesterday, I received the sad news that one of my old friends/housemates died recently.
I think on reflection that I reacted quite emotionally, due to my old bond with the person who died and also due to the rekindling of old bereavements I have had experienced in the years gone by.
Upon hearing that the person died, I immediately thought of some of the good and positive characteristics of our old friendship and their’ personality, which left a lasting impression on me. For example: the warmth and friendship that exuded this individuals character towards me was of high quality.
I have come to think of death as an end of not just life, but of the start of a ‘Big Silence’, a silence to be endured for those left behind in this world.
It does not matter how much we got to know individuals’, but that we got to know the person at any length is all that matters for me now.
Without intimate bonds this is all that matters when a person dies, at least now, for me, in this frame of mind: their personality, memory is now part of my life!
This concept of ‘The Big Silence’ has only occurred to me recently. With this concept I am trying to illustrate/illuminate the idea that language/communication plays a big part in our lives. To the extent that in today’s world silence may/can equate to an end of existence. I appreciate that this is far from satisfactory and extremely abstract, but it’s how i’m thinking about death at present.
In a sense another example may be more illuminating: I was thinking just the other day about the old adage of a tree falling in the forest; if it falls and no one is there to witness it falling, does it really fall at all? In a sense this touches on how I feel about death and silence in general. If something can not be sensed by a man or woman, can it really exist at all?
I know my friend has died and that therefore they no longer exist. But, crucially they are also now silent to me.
In prayer we are also silent, perhaps we can remember the dead in such a state as well!