I have always had a horrible fear of death. Not my own, mind you, but for those around me. It isn't just a fear of sadness, or a fear of loss. It goes much deeper than that. And I know from where it comes. But that doesn't make it any easier. But I guess death is rarely easy.
Some dear old friends of mine, and I mean old as in late in years, used to comment on friends of theirs who had died; "They've passed on" they would say. Or sometimes simply "they've passed."
As trite as that may sound to some, I always found comfort in it. The phrase "passing on" seemed, to me, not an end, but the continuation of a journey we will all eventually take. That someone had passed on implied that their time here was done, and the next great adventure was at hand. It not only sounds poetic, but encouraging, or a little uplifting even.
I wrote of how sad I was at learning that Brad Renfro had died. Then of course news of the very beautiful and talented Suzanne Pleshette (Danny has a wonderful tribute to her at his always terrific blog Jew Eat Yet) passing away, and just a few days ago Heath Ledger.
The other day a friend pulled me aside to tell me that the father of another dear friend had unexpectedly passed away. A freak accident and he was gone.
My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of those who have passed on. There really isn't more I can think of to say.