visit to israel

Aya died (30th of March 2009). From the stories of her diabetes, the infection in her leg, her hospitalization, it seemed to me that her days were numbered. Maybe it was easy for me to feel that way because I am away, in Canada, while they are back in Israel. When Aya died there was wonder as to what had killed her. 65 is not considered old age these days. A day or two before her death she was diagnosed with cancer.
Death is a straightforward reminder of the insignificance of our existence. 'How we die' by Sherwin Nuland describes the six most common processes that bring our bodies to the moment of death. A fascinating book that shows how boring and predictable death is. The author's intention in writing this book came from the realization that lack of information is at the base of the emotions surrounding death. My grandfather, who I have never met, died at 56. Before my father turned 56 he seemed to have been counting the days.
When I was riding my motorcycle a few years earlier, at 29, I was hit by a car. This near death experience was more frightening to everyone around than to me. For the first week, although regarded conscious, I was completely disoriented. I have virtually no memory of that time. If anything stays with me from that time it's the fear of injury and not the fear of death. So what makes so many of us cling to life so badly?
Before we die we want to leave a mark, to create meaning. In death our value can be calculated. Initially that value is described in terms of loss. Eventually memory is gathered to become a legacy. Aya's legacy is hard to describe in elaborate words. It's one that is less of her own life yet belongs to her life.
She really liked us, her nephews. We made her happy and she wanted us to be happy.
In her death, I remember her fondly.

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