We befriend endings when we realize we sit at a place where we cannot go on. It is our reality; not a single cell within us feels the ability to move ahead. But, without permission or even willing participation, we do. We find ourselves in an impossible duality of existence, where absolute contradictions in reality compel us, and we do both – not in spite of each other, or because of each other, or any relating, negating word or phrase. Two paths at one moment; unable to forge ahead, we do.

In this moment we become elders; we begin to understand the deepest depths of love that this world calls us to. That the essesnce of loving requires us to love down. The miracle we seek was never what we thought, tearing the fabric of time and natural order apart and rescuing what we love from it, but rather the miracle lay in the design of nature itself, that all voyages come to their natural end, and no matter how heartbroken we are, whether guide, companion or passenger, when we get there, the miracle is the ending itself.

The angel is death, not the subversion or denial of it. The gentle peace is in the natural design of the world we try so desperately to exert our control over. Ultimately, it is in surrender to a superior force where we find the relief from all our human struggles. For death will always be the culminating act required of us in existence; to perform it wisely is the goal, yet an exquisitely difficult one in a society that denies death altogether. The ultimate love does not deny the object of its doting that release, no matter how much it devastates the one left behind. In understanding death and endings as miracles and angels themselves, we find our only vantage point to understand massive trauma: genocide, terrorism, war, the loss of love, of mothers and fathers and children.

The call to understand a love deeper than self: it is an art that society has become less and less versed in, and so – read and talk about death as we might – this is why we continue to fail to change the trend of bad death on any scale. The truth of love is that in its most perfect forms, it will call you to sacrifice yourself in the name of it; that to truly love someone or something you must be prepared to act in its best interest alone, your own set aside. The great poets, theologians, sages, and writers of the ages have all told us this… yet we still seek some easier solution.

In that moment of purest love, when we follow the path of the greatest good for that which we love, we bear the ultimate responsibility of loving: the potential of losing the very thing that means so much. The inability to love with that type of selfless grace, more often than not, will result in a similar loss, but with a far different outcome for all involved. No portion of the road is easy, and no one promised it would be.

Each ending we witness, we learn slowly to greet with the grace of complete and untethered love, beyond preservation of self; it allows us an opportunity to prepare for the coming of our own ending, how and wherever it will appear, and it… will… come. You will look past this life and all the people and things in it that you love with such passion, and if you have achieved the ultimate level of loving, you will leave them compassionately, rather than stay and mar what they have left. The world will move on, though you cannot, in some way unknown to you; in that moment you may even go on, and they will go on. No one is obligated to feel especially joyful in the moment, but there – where ultimate love meets sacrifice – is the greatest thing we can hope to celebrate for those we truly love to the greatest depths. We have allowed, encouraged and loved them through the completion of their humanity, and perhaps grown closer to the day we will love ourselves and others with the same greater compassion.

May you grow to know the beautiful solace of endings, even as your knees fall to the earth and you cannot go on. May you find in your life the knowledge of humanity, complete, and the refuge of the angel that comes to take us; may you find within the great wings of death the truest friend you have known in this human journey.