In a time of emergency, when called home to tend family affairs, despite all fearful narrative the journey should paint on the mind, those unnamable qualities that define the land of the Texas High Plains, somehow, always place in context my deep felt-sense of human meagerness, and in such a light that I feel an inexplicable and inescapable compulsion to persist. Almost as instinct. There is such a human notion of forward-march - of survival - that underlays the very soil of this canyon punctured American steppe. The landscape is itself the harbinger of an existential question, asked of anyone who walks and toils these fields; will you survive these harsh conditions? People have lived here since 11,000 BCE. You could call it hope to see life teeming, with staying power, in such a stark place.
Yet, each of us will die. And we will, if we can stomach it, sit with those we know and love as they pass on into the unknown.
To reconcile that primordial sense of survival on these prairies with the acceptance that not one of us stands immortal is truly a tall order. I find myself, at the moment, in the throes of just such a reconciliation. I wish I had profound conclusions to offer you, for that occasion when you might find yourself in a situation similar, but I can only evince what I have experienced myself. Perhaps this is encouraging and could be taken as advice.
So I will simply say that you ought look it in the eye. Do not fear what is your human birthright - the unflappable fact that you will someday die. There is immense power in it.