follow it as far as you can go

My law school mentor, if such a person could possibly exist, has passed away. I am shocked, and very sad, and sort of bewildered. He was one of those people who seem impervious to ordinary life in a lot of ways, and something as base and common as death never crossed my mind in his regard.

He taught me Constitutional Law, and Children and the Law (about the ways that law affects the lives of children, sometimes bad but myriad ways that help), and was my advisor for an independent study that required absolutely all of my intellectual focus for a semester. He was also my boss; I was his research assistant for a year, poring through journals and books in the library, making copies, annotating, and drafting a paper that he later published.

He taught me that no one answers for me but me, and that I'd damned well better be ready to do it, at all times.

He taught me arrogance, with intelligence.

He taught me compassion, fueled with passionate belief in reason.

He taught me to believe it, when someone recognizes what's within me.

His memorial service was today. If I'd known, I would have been there.
I will remember.

[the title quotation is by Philip K. Dick, from Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, and reads in its entirety below]
Grief reunites you with what you've lost. It's a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that's going away. You follow it as far as you can go.
But finally, the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him.
And you can accept that. What the hell choice is there? You cry, you continue to cry, because you don't ever completely come back from where you went with him--a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A cut that never heals.
And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can't feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You'll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.

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