I have just finished reading a book about death, a beautiful book called The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. It is narrated by Death — who, in the book, is quite a decent bloke. At one point he remarks that a difference between humans and himself is that humans have the good sense to die.
Today would have been my dearest's 84th birthday. But he died when he was still 83. Eight and three make eleven, the number of mastery. And he had mastered his life by its end. He had mellowed considerably from the lovable but exasperating little dynamo he so often used to be. He had absolutely entered into unconditional love. Sometimes, from dementia, he was like a child. But it was a light dementia, and even at his most confused moments he knew how to be loving, and was most concerned that I should know I was loved. (I did know. I do know.) He was like that in his many lucid moments, too.
He had the good sense to die just at the point when his body stopped working. Up until then, although he had pain and frailty, limitations and frustrations, his quality of life outweighed its drawbacks. He died just at the point where it was going to become the other way about.
He was a great communicator during his life, and since his death he has been in communication with those who are able to perceive it. So we know that he is busy and happy, interested and engaged as always. Resting in peace? Not exactly. But his earthly troubles are over. He lived a long life, experienced joy and adventure, and contributed a lot to the wellbeing of others.
I miss him like hell, remember him well, and cannot wish that he had lingered longer. I was very lucky to be with him for those 20 brilliant years.