07 November 2007

Inexperience with Human Death

Since it's the Samhain season, a time to remember and honor the dead, there's obviously been a lot of talk about death around the pagan blogosphere. And I've realized that, as far as human death is concerned, I am very inexperienced. Sure, I've attended my share of funerals but they were all for great aunts and uncles and grandparents and I've never been particularly close to the deceased. I've had extended family members die violently but noone close to me. The only personal experience I have of the death of a truly close loved one is the loss of beloved pets. In fact, I've lost more cherished furry family members than human relatives. I've never lost a dear friend or a parent or a sibling or a close cousin to death. *knock wood* I've always cried at funerals because I'm such an empath and, like Truvy in Steel Magnolias, I have a strict rule that no one cries alone in my presence. I can't help it, if someone around me is crying then I'm crying. Hel, I can't watch a funeral on TV or in a movie without my eyes tearing up. But I've never cried at a funeral out of sincere and crushing grief. I've never felt that punch in the stomach or that kick to the back of the knees at the news of the death of a loved one. I've been heartbroken at the death of a feline child but not the loss of a human. So I guess I'm very inexperienced when it comes to death. I don't know whether I'm lucky or unlucky in that regard. I guess I'm lucky in the sense that I've never suffered the loss of someone truly close to me. But I'm also unlucky in the sense that when death does inevitably come knocking I'll have little basis of understanding how to deal with it. I might be floored and useless to those around me. Time will tell of course but at least now I understand why I have a hard time relating to the dead: I've never lost anyone I really knew and cherished and deeply missed.

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