just plain hard

She asked me what my weekend would hold. I told her my Grandma had passed away and that the memorial/burial service is on Saturday. I will never forget her response. "At least you're used to facing a lot of death in Africa, so that makes this easier to deal with."

Let me tell you what I didn't tell her: Nothing makes this easier.

The fact that I live in a country with an astronomical death rate, where I often know people who pass away, makes nothing easier. One in four South Africans have AIDS, but those numbers, the ones and the fours, aren't just numbers. They are people. They are you; they are me; they are our families.

Consistently facing sickness and death makes neither easier to deal with. Maybe it makes my approach different than someone else's, maybe it even makes me want to be numb to it all, but it certainly doesn't make it easier.

Although I wanted to say all that, I simply smiled a flat, unconvincing smile. She changed the subject and moved on, for which I was grateful.

We are on our way to the cemetery this morning. Nothing makes this easier.

Today is just plain hard.