I wrote this in 1999, when I was first putting opinions on my website. I thought it would be a good contribution to repost it
It’s time for another addition to the opinion pile. One of my dogs died today. The traffic goes fast on our rural roads- too fast for one slightly arthritic dog. It reminded me of something that impressed me years ago when I was still in my twenties.
My husband and I were driving some friends home from church and as we exited the freeway we came upon the scene of an accident that must have happened moments before. As we looked at the car, the macabre sight of two sets of legs sliced by the door made us realize that the people were still there. Someone must have called the ambulance since we heard the approach of sirens. I remember feeling the presence of death. Later, we read of the accident; the feeling had been a real sense, the occupants of the car had died instantly at impact. I remember reeling at the sight of death’s appearance and my first thought was to call a cousin of mine. He is a doctor and I wanted to talk with him about seeing, sensing death in its suddeness and implacability.
Then, the absurdity struck me: to call the person who witnessed death as part of his job. He worked against it, studied its approach, daily came against it as an adversary. He was aware, it was me that was taken by surprise. What I came to realize is that death is very normal in this world, it is a daily reality; it is life that is the miracle, the surprise. Life, that we so often take for granted, is the fragile wonder that we should ponder and plan for. Death will always be there in this present world, it is life that is fleeting and uncommon.