Monday, 2 November 2009

Wrestling with the Grim Reaper

I am at the airport, blogging from my phone. going back to sunny Israel ( where it is raining, incidentally). and I am thinking over the last few days.

nothing much has happened, bar ending up at two vigils, or memorial services. the first was the vigil against hate crime in trafalgar square. the second was a church service celebrating All Souls Day.

the vigil was sad and celebrated senseless, violent death. the feelings of outrage were palpable and I left feeling that we can do more and should do more to prevent attacks on people simply because they seem different. this is avoidable death.

the church service looked at garden variety death. this is death that may have been violent or preventable but is more often just inevitable and sad. everybody dies. this never ceases to shock me, even though I am unhealthily obsessed with the idea.
so what am I trying to say? if my father dies, should he not be mourned because death is as normal as life? "so it goes", as Kurt vonnegut would say.

more to the point, however, is the question of how we should be facing grief right now. just because no one is dead, does not mean that there is not loss. and the potential for further loss. so I am here, facing Death (and anthropomorphisising it for the purpose of the metaphor) and waiting to see what he will do.

currently, he's just loitering in the corner, watching us. but, like a wild animal, if I take my eyes off him, he may pounce. so I ask him "what are you going to do? do we need to prepare ourselves for the grief that you bring?" but there is no answer. Death has no interest in me, which is, I suppose, the point. He is indifferent to any pain he causes because if it's time, it's time.

am I consoled by this? not really. but is it better to wait for signs that the Grim Reaper is backing out of the room than to deal with simple, stupid grief?

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