This is my brother Ted.  He passed away suddenly on Saturday.  He had been struggling with cancer for the last couple of years but had recently had good news; we are still not sure exactly what happened.

This isn’t exactly a post about Ted.  (I don’t write about real people in my life here, or anywhere–you might guess where they turn up in my fiction but you won’t likely be correct.)  It’s a post about death, about what happens when it comes near.  This is the second time in recent years that I’ve lost an immediate family member, and the same thing has happened to me both times: a sense of grace, of awe, of something that is almost elation.

Death is miraculous, in the same way that birth is miraculous.  It is outside of our control.  When it strikes this close, like lightning, it raises all the hairs on my arms with this electric sense of a near-miss.  He is gone.  I am still here.

There are a million cliches about this, of course.  I’m posting it here because I want you, whoever you might be, to receive a little of that awe, to drop a bit of that tangle of petty mess we all carry, and to walk on faster, less burdened, toward the citadel of your purpose.  I am walking toward mine now.

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