When a life ends, we are all of us confronted by the enormity of the eternal.
The mysteries of the universe can be held at bay by the business of our day-to-day existence, but when the hand of the Almighty touches one of those closest to us, all our efforts to distract ourselves fall short and we are all — sooner or later — obliged to acknowledge how much of our existence remains unknown and unknowable.
For those with faith, there may be some level of comfort.
For those without faith, there is confusion, anger, resentment, fear and the sensation that modern Western culture finds most despicable: a sense of helplessness.
Sometimes, even those with faith feel these things.
Even as life begins with an experience that none of us can clearly remember, so it also ends in an experience that none can truly foresee. That is the closing of the circle.
I can claim no special insight into such things, but it occurs to me that a Death is meant to transform the survivors who must go on living. It unifies us, if only for a moment, in a sense of loss and mystery.
Perhaps that, too, is part of its purpose.