You won’t hear about it on the news tonight.
Most deaths go unnoticed, save by those the dead leave behind.
My youngest son pointed out the unfortunate soul that came staggering into our yard today.
He wanted to know what was wrong; and before a handful of minutes passed, so did I.
I observed with growing alarm the pattern unfolding in front of my eyes.
Circling is how it began, and as I watched closer, the circling was only broken by repeated staggering efforts to keep his footing.
When he lost his footing, he laid down on the grass, rested, and then lurched to his feet again to circle and stagger a little further before he went down.
There was only one thing I could do for him.
I sat vigil.
I prayed for a swift end to his suffering, and I wished with all my might it was in my power to do more.
But it is not in a mere human’s power to stop what nature decrees must exist.
I prayed some more.
I thought he had fallen for the final time several times, but no, not yet.
Nature might decree that death exists.
But it doesn’t decree how merciful our eventual deaths will be.
When he finally did fall for the final time, I watched as his hands and feet twitched with the impotent effort to do something.
Perhaps he felt this had only been a nightmare; something he could rise up after, and walk away from.
But that was not to be.
I could see his last breaths expanding his chest slowly, until finally, he lay still
Grateful and melancholy, I rose to my feet shaking my head as I pondered what others might think.
If I put any serious investment in what others thought, I likely wouldn’t have sat vigil at all.
A death should be a death.
It should not matter who, or what, or where one is doing the dying.
We should respect the passing of all souls to where we cannot yet follow, but will.
One fine day we all will.
A possum died in my yard today.
It doesn’t matter who’s doing the dying.
It matters who’s doing the caring.