I spend quite a bit of time thinking about people who have died. Recently, ages ago, people I knew, complete strangers, co-workers, I think about them all, when they have passed through that final doorway into the "next". Some could say I'm fascinated by death, and it's inevitability to eventually track us all down. Perhaps that explains my natural tendency to communicate with Jesus on a daily basis. He's been dead, and is supposedly back alive, and more than that, He remains responsible for dragging my sorry butt into the here-after. I'll admit that I'm fascinated with death, but not in the macabre sense...I've not desire to see the actual death of a person, although I have. I'm interested in their "place".
We are so scared to honor our dead. It is uncomfortable, unnerving, and sometimes confused with depressing. Grief and depression, certainly have their place...read my last blog. However, honoring your dead should not always remain depressing. Finding their "place" can be the most important aspect of moving on with your own life, when you've been forced to do so without one you loved, liked, or remembered.
People die. Simple fact. All you have to do, in order to accomplish that task, would be to remain where you are...doing whatever you are doing. Living, on the other hand...that takes balls. Living in the context of those you've let move on to the "next", well, I think that takes even bigger balls.
People matter. If they didn't, you wouldn't shed a tear when they took their eternal exit from this world. Where does grief come from? The space that has been left, bloody and oozing inside of your soul...a valuable piece of you has been ripped from within you, and you have to deal with the void. That hurts. I'm amazed when people, who have recently lost a loved one, say things like "I'm doing ok", or "as good as I can". I'm impressed with people that can acknowledge some aspect of reality...like "I've had a part of me forcibly removed without my asking, I believe in God, but somehow He has allowed me to be violated by the removal of an important and vital part of my life...I wasn't asked, I wasn't consented, and I feel no divine comfort... frankly, I'm not doing very fucking well, thank you".
We remember. How do we honor our dead? Let me explain how I do it...
My dead represent volumes inside my head, like encyclopedias on a bookshelf. Those volumes contain my life and times with my people that have moved on. I can no longer sit and have coffee with them, my father, my mother, my brother, my friends...but, I can talk with them through reviewing the volumes. I allow them constant access into my life, so that my every day experiences can be connected with them. A small thought here, brought on by a KOA campground on the side of the road...I remember the incredibly cold pool there, with my mom and dad...camping, good times. I remember the not so good times as well, but those must feed me in a different way...when I look upon my son, daughter, and wife. The pages of the books of the dead remind us of where we come from, who we are, and sometimes...where we are supposed to be going. I have to stop once in a while, on my pursuit of ultimate perfection, upon my path to greatness, while climbing the ladder of success...to remember that I was the first child of my family to grab a bachelor's degree...yes, I can pause for a moment and know that if it all ended today...my daddy would be really damned proud of me. I can't sit there for long, and I may not be able to explain the almost-tears welling up for just a moment...but, it helps me focus on the happiness of others, having accomplished a goal myself. A richer sense of being, enhancing the lives of others, rather than being focused upon the hungry self.
I can always revisit the books on my shelf, sometimes with soft remembrance of what was, sometimes with the thought of the tragedy because of what is not. As I do, my dead come with me, I remember them, and as I do...they can never be truly gone.
My dead have a place, and I'd recommend that you find them a place on your shelf as well. They don't have to dominate your life, or drag it down...but you will have to put some work into replacing that void inside of you with the joy of the memories of those gone from you.
I don't blame God anymore, although He would tell you that I'm still a little pissed that I didn't have some folks a little longer than I did. That's a part of life, just like dying. Let life be a little more lively, live a little more tomorrow, by bringing out your dead from time to time.
Hit it in the fairway, and don't leave eagle putts short.