This week I found myself face-to-face with death for the first time. I've witnessed it before, but not up close, and not as slowly or gently.

It's weird to sit in a house full of memories you don't share, to meet a person full of mysteries you can no longer solve. But I was there to help the living, and found courage in their grief, strength in their love.

I've never shied away from death. In fact, I enjoy the serenity of cemeteries. And I find it useful to keep reminders of death, mementos moris, to prevent myself from forgetting what's important.

What I didn't really understand until now is that death is accompanied by life. There are people alive who can still tell you about those who are gone. The trick is to write their stories down, because the storytellers themselves will one day be gone, and the stories recorded will be all that's left of them.

Stories and mysteries are all that's left. And far-reaching echoes of love.