You never forget the day that you meet Death. The day that you go from childish innocence in believing that nothing bad will ever happen to someone you love. I was 19 years and 3 days old the day I first met Death.
It hovered over the bed, sucking the life from Nana with each gasping, torturous breath as Poppop's heart shattered and we the helpless gathered in vigil around the shell that was once the most vibrant bond between all of us in the room. Occasionally a little consciousness would fight its way to the surface and break through so that Nana could look at Poppop with tortured eyes while his soul split with a silent ripping so loud my heart even yet rings with it. But with every fight Death came closer, until there was no breath, until there was no life, until there was no Shining Light that had been Nana.
When I was 24 years and 3 days old, 5 years exactly from my first (but not last) meeting with death, I heard news again that Death had come and ripped another soul in shreds and that silent scream stabbed my heart again. This time it was the niece that was so much wanted and loved that her mother chose to be in pain herself rather than cause any to her. A little star was born to impact indelibly on those who knew her.
I am 26 years and 3 days old today, 2 years from the birth and death of the Little Star and 7 years from the death of the Shining Light and I can still feel the stab of pain as accutely as I felt it on both days. I still go to turn into Nana's street and I can't quite believe that she hasn't met the Elfling and the Monkey who she would have adored. I can't quite believe that the Elfling is not playing with her little cousin, that there are not 3 little grotty fairies to line up on the couch for family photos along with 2 impish boy cousins.
I've met Death many times now through life and through hospitals, and I still hate her. She is cruel.