My wife called to tell me about the burning body firefighters found at a cemetery last night.
"Takes a week to get the smell of burning flesh out of your gear. Couple days for it to get off your skin. 'Bout a month before it washes out of your hair. Poor guys."
She hung up. Sometimes that woman just doesn't "get" me.
But who would?
The living are the focus of those who deal with death regularly. The guy on fire is dead, the people putting him out are not. Those are the people I think of now, while the rest of the world dwells on the poor soul whose life was extinguished and body desecrated. We need to go on living; living with the essence of another human being clinging to our own skin for days and weeks, the experience etched into our consciousness, indelible ink that fades with time but remains permanent.
People claim I've lost my soul, my empathy, my respect for life, but nothing could be further from the truth. In dealing with death so often I've learned to appreciate the living while laying the dead to rest, in my mind anyway.
Anyway, sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim, it was a lousy way to go.