Death had always scared him. It was not that we don’t know what lies beyond the grave. No, he had a worse hypothesis to rest on. It came from his earliest years- the death of a close family member had been the greatest lesson in humility. But what it brought was only more questions. If the dead go to the afterlife, then why do we cry at funerals? How is it that when our lovers leave off for eternal bliss it devastates us?

Over time he saw the convenience of it all. Of course they’re high and happy in some paradise magic land. Of course they are, because it means that we don’t have to think about it- we don’t have to remember that they are long gone- off on an adventure. Soon he found in Occam’s Razor the end to the strife. They cried, they moaned, because deep down every one of us knew. We all knew and know that life came from nothing and to nothing we must return. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And their beliefs- their assumption that something cannot come from nothing- or that something cannot once again be nothing, was only a practice of the deepest denial. We will all die, but I won’t, they say.

And so, he thought, we pacify it. Sure I can binge watch this show, they think. Of course I’ll wait in line for an hour to get something I only kind of want! After all, so long as I’m a good person I will be rewarded in the next life- never minding that I can’t remember my previous one- never minding that there is no evidence that anything changes besides a lack of function when we die. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence after all! That clock keeps ticking and I don’t have to pay no mind.

But that was them and he was not. Still, he’d done well in the grand scheme of things. He and his wife had made it this far, and their child had gone and done the thing all good offspring ought to do: pass it along. He looked back as far as he could. How little of such a life he remembered. every moment so precious yet he could barely be sure of half of it! Oh but it was worth it. He’d tried his best to be useful and by all means it better have been worth it.

That’s when he looked over at his wife. She slept there in peace and brought to him a sea of never ending happiness. Here, he thought, is a thing forever changed by my existence. How he wished he could be close to her as they had in their youth- just as much as in his youth he longed to have the stronger connection they shared now. I hope I’d made life bearable enough for you love, he thought, I hope you’ll forgive me for this.

He laid down beside her and studied her face, finding an end to a wonderful journey. She looked the part, but beneath that face was the youthful girl who kissed him on the dance floor and filled his life with joy, and a small army of cats. He pulled her in and let her rest her head on his chest before kissing her head and taking in her full scent.

His last words weren’t the best, and no one would ever know them. But they were good enough for him, good enough to say goodbye with. He squeezed her close and said, “I love you, Mama Moose- thanks for rocking my world.”

_______

Oh how I wish saying I love you was ever enough. I do love writing Mama Moose and Papa Bear stories- do not think this is the end, just another beginning.

-ABK

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