For many years — the majority of my life, in fact — acknowledging death’s inevitability exerted little psychological pressure on me. I had no fear of passing, as they say, from this world into the next, or, assuming no next world exists, simply entering oblivion.
You can belong to yourself, but it’s lonely, and you can belong to others, but there’s loss built into that, in uncountable forms.
Over and over I have discovered that my children feel alienated in environments where, at their age, I felt an automatic sense of belonging.
I lie on the couch in the living room and feel a deep sense of shame, because I’ve increased our debt by getting sick.
Do I need to go into what turns an eleven-year-old into such a stoic: embarrassed to be sentimental, determined to be detached?