PersonalMy grandmother, Doris, passed away today, after many days in a hospice. I’d been expecting for days to hear that she’s passed; every day that went by without the news was a blessing and a sadness. A blessing because she was a wonderful person–generous, kind, and caring–and every day she was still alive was a day I did not have to mourn. A sadness because she was in pain, and her body was slowly and inexorably shutting down. After watching her cope with multiple strokes, assorted respiratory illnesses, dementia and the like, I cannot help but be a little glad that she is no longer suffering.

I received the news today against the backdrop of a national tragedy. My country is reeling with the news of the deaths of twelve people, and the injuries of numerous others, from a murderous rampage in a movie theater in Colorado. I am sad for the victims and their families, and my heartfelt sympathies go out to them. No blessings here, only sadness.

There have been other happenings–matters of life and death affecting people close to me. Thankfully, life has held sway in these instances. For this I am glad. The specter of death is hovering too close right now.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Elena Ray/Bigstock.com.