And what of the dead? Valéry refers to them as having been dissolved into a 'dense absence'. Not a mere absence but a 'dense' one. How can an absence be dense? When it is ineffable, unreachable and yet ever so sublime. Jesus is recorded as having said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?’ (Lk 24:5) and ‘Let the dead bury their own dead’ (Lk 9:60). Have you lost a loved one? I lost my parents over 30 years ago and I still miss them. I seldom go to the cemetery where their cremated remains are buried. My parents are not there. I do not look for them there. They are to be found in the very livingness of life itself. I am reminded of some beautiful words from the collection of poems This, My Son by the Australian writer Joan Kinmont---words I've often read out at funerals, words that capture the essence of Paul Valéry’s poem:
And if we live mindfully, that’s even better.