Every law enforcement officer knows the feelings I'm about to describe. Few other professions experience the emotions I'm about to reveal. Nurses, doctors, morticians and maybe a hose-dragger or two, are able to relate to what I'm about to say.
We are constantly surrounded by death. The dead, the dying, the use-to-be. We gun-toters lean toward cynical, mechanical, calloused when it comes to death. We accept it for what it is...a part of life. We take no pleasure in the loss of life, but we also feel unattached to the "normal" emotions that humans typically feel when we witness it. That is of course, until the chilly fingers of death touch someone we care about.
When the inevitable happens...we feel way too much. Every nerve fiber in our bodies are on overdrive, every sensory skill tasked to the threshold, every muscle in our jaw clinches to near teeth-breaking strength. And then we collapse into nothingness. Drained of our tears, we lay fragile, broken, spent.
We will eventually recover, but we won't ever be the same. Death (of any kind) hurts. It may be the end of a long term relationship. Or the end of a marriage. It may be the end of a friendship or the end of a career. It may be the loss of a four-legged friend or the loss of mobility or youth.
Any loss, death or otherwise, changes who you are and who you thought you were. It makes you stop, if only for a moment and consider what's important. Death does something else...it sweetens the memories for the ones left behind; for that, I'm grateful.