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Between The Lines: Mourning death and its contradictions

This isn't a eulogy. 

How could it be? This isn’t a funeral, and none of you knew her. You didn’t know her kind, lively demeanor and didn’t see it contrasted by the open, cancerous sores on her face.

No, this is me grappling with death and its relation to life. Me, selfishly taking her death and transforming it into something about me. Because, I must shamefully admit, as I stood in that newly lifeless room, words kept running through my mind about how I could transform her life, the day’s events and my reactions to it all into words I could publish.

I cried a lot that day, but not because I was losing her. In fact, I had come to an uneasy truce with her death — I may be losing her, but she would no longer continue her slow, painful downward spiral.No, I mourned because of the cruelty of life. The systematic dismantling of her body while her mind and soul continued on. It is unrelenting and unjustified and unfair. But that’s life, right?

I decided I didn’t want to go out like that. I don’t want to waste away slowly, like the fade-out of a rock song that the band didn’t know how to end. I don’t want family to have to leave the room with me lying lifeless on the linoleum.

I want to go out with a bang years before I’m out of my prime. A death that is the perfect culmination of a life lived fully. When people hear of my demise, their faces should light up with a sudden, whispered realization: “That’s how he was meant to go."

Like apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner, a walk-off home run in an October baseball game, cuddling after sex, and “We Are The Champions” coming on shuffle right after “We Will Rock You” all rolled into one.

She didn’t have that privilege. Her life ended with arthritis, bleeding and sadness. A jarring contradiction to her years filled with cheer, caring, companionship and tail-wagging.

But this isn’t a eulogy.

Ryan Clark is the local news editor for The Post.

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