I don't know what it is about death that makes it so hard. I suppose it's the one-sided communication; the fact that we never get to ask our loved one if she suffered, if she is happy wherever she is now…if she is somewhere. It's the question mark that comes with death that we can't face, not the period.
Penetrate deeply into the secret existence of anyone about you, even of the man or woman whom you count happiest, and you will come upon things they spend all their efforts to hide. Fair as the exterior may be, if you go in, you will find bare places, heaps of rubbish that can never be taken away, cold hearths, desolate altars, and windows veiled with cobwebs.
We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer but because we have separated ourselves from each other. A patient once told me that he had tried to ignore his own suffering and the suffering of other people because he had wanted to be happy. Yet becoming numb to suffering will not make us happy. The part in us that feels suffering is the same as the part that feels joy.
People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.
I put the question directly to myself: "Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?" And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, "No!