On Sunday, December 30, 2012 my father-in-law, Alfredo Rodriguez passed away from cancer of the pancreas. He was 61. His death was agony, to the point that his last days on Earth were spent entirely under the influence of morphine. I was there at the end and the days, weeks, and months leading up to it. I’ve never witnessed anything so heroic.
Four days before my father-in-law passed my wife turned 32. She was pregnant with our second child. Now, nearly a year later, with a healthy baby boy in my arms, I’m able to reflect on his passing, the struggle, the emotion, and the relief when it was all over. That reflection led me to consider death in general, but more specifically death in fiction. And, of course, even more specifically, death in the fiction I love.
I’m reminded of a famous line from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, “Duty is heavy as a mountain, death is light as a feather.” It implies, if not outright says, that death is easy.… Read the rest