The principle of the foreverness of death he understood well, especially insofar as fear can be said to mark, in some circumstances, understanding.
The application of the principle struck him afresh in each new instance, however.
His father for instance died; therefore, his father’s red blood would again never be. His father’s presence was now always past. Factuality of his father’s death shocked, became a chronic catastrophe. Understanding the principle of the foreverness of death proved useless. Specific death is unprincipled.
As his father lay dying, he held his father’s hand and noticed in a waste-can clues concerning the Code Crew’s bloody work to bring his father back from cardiac arrest so that his father might not just yet die.
Life is work and bloody response and the business of getting things done. One son holding one father’s hand is between the one father and the one son. It is the miracle and morose tragedy of the particular, overwhelmed by that-is-to-say life and its infinite particulars.
Be dutiful and sad and think of the red blood you share. Be shocked and afflicted and unprepared because you cannot prepare. Be quiet. Be all alone even as others might briefly grasp you or perform gestures of understanding.
Be briefly solid and here in your acute particularity. Weep at the agreed-upon time and place. Weep at an unexpected hour and inappropriate place. Stand dry-eyed, well soldiered. Lie in the state of grief.
Inter your memories. Move—you must and will—on, as blood moves on in you, amen, so long, it was nice and it was knowing and it was you, and he was father.