Death can be experienced in many different ways. I know that to be true much more now that I am very close to 50.
But when I was about 21 years old, I saw him die right in front of me. I haven't really talked about it because, well, I didn't really know why I never talked about it until I started really looking and really thinking about it.
The more I thought about it, the more it truly confused me and scared me because I saw myself in him. I was he and he was I. Both Sailors just wanting to serve our country and looking forward with deep conviction to make it back home to next double cheese burger from McD's or Burger King, but most of all to our families.
I remember the feeling being much stronger because I thought about his family. My thoughts went straight to my beautiful wife and I thought about his if he had one because she must mean life for him as mine did for me. I was a newly wed and I had grossly and rightfully so, made her the obsession of my existence. I thought about his children, possibly being fatherless. It brought back memories too painful to endure.
A soldier/sailor goes about his duties and forgets what just happened in front of him-NOT! I have relived that day many days on out. It has given appreciation for life, but I had never had the opportunity to express my own sorrow and immense amount of fear that I felt after that day. I still dream about it, and even though I have tried to meditate it away, the thought of seeing him on the floor lifeless jolts me back to that fateful day. It seems as if though he wasn't the only one that died that day. I think a part of me also left my soul. I think that a certain certainty about me was lost that day. Yes, I have been trying to compensate for it and to maybe find validation for why I am alive, but at the cost of what?
Fear of death? Not in the same way. Just afraid that I could've done more I could've possibly said something to have saved him. But who am I to shape anyone's fate? It was meant to be, that was both our destiny... or was it?