When the clock stops on a life, all things emanating from it become precious, finite, and cordoned off for preservation. Each aspect of the dead person is removed from the flux of the everyday, which, of course, is where we miss him most. The quarantine around death makes it feel unlucky and wrong--a freakish incursion--and the dead, thus quarantined, come to seem more dead than they already are.... Borrowing from the dead is a way of keeping them engaged in life's daily transactions--in other words, alive.

When the clock stops on a life, all things...
Jennifer Egan

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