To visit an old friend who is dying is to be reminded that life is fragile and fleeting, while you sit awkwardly knowing that every moment is goodbye. Is to see someone reduced to a shadow of their former self, and to feel bitter that this will be your last and most enduring memory, frail bones jutting from irritated, dying skin like someone is dying from the outside in, dark, sunken eyes which follow but do not see. To feel skin which is so fragile that you are afraid of tearing it with your touch, to sense increasing lightness and to strive to speak normally while every cell wants to scream, to beat the walls in frustration, to run rather than to face reality.
To see an old friend who is dying is a sacred obligation, and to be able to visit when he can still realize that you are present is a bitter honor. To know when you turn to go to the door and raise your hand limply to say goodbye that you will probably never see him again, not in this lifetime, and to wonder whether the end will come quickly or whether it will drag on. To see the end coming slowly is to know that death is not noble or purifying, but torturous and cruel.
To meditate on death is to be reminded that we are never finished, never ready, always resistant. Yet, there is a bitter cup which waits for us all.