Friday, January 30, 2009

The Magic Of Death...

Pops called a few nights ago to talk to Mum. He wanted to talk to his daughter's mother and share in the loss with somebody who really understood. They had, after all, raised my sister from birth and lived long enough to both witness her passing.

These are two people who have long since stopped having lengthy conversations about anything with each other, but in this instance, it was important for both of them.

The loss of a daughter was plenty to make two people very close again. If only for a short time.

I've gotten some nice e-mails and phone calls too. Some coming unexpectedly. The thing of it is, some of them have turned Sandy into some sort of magical being, capable of all kinds of magical acts defying basic natural laws and capable of residing in magical places full of other creatures also capable of performing the same magic after they died...

It's all so unnecessary.

Surely, death is a blow to the group of which the person who died was a member. Those who knew Sandy will feel the loss. Those who never knew her will simply think about the loss, and imagine having to feel it.

This has been the case back through time. In every culture, there were tribal rituals that revolved around death- all with their own bizarre beliefs and superstitions- all designed in some way to aid the living who were left alive to suffer a loss in their "group".

In this day and age, especially in America, we live with a full pallette of possible death rituals and beliefs centered around what happens after you die. Interestingly, they all seem to revolve around continuity and a "better place", as if life and "here" weren't good enough.

"She's up there smiling down on you..."


"She's in a place with lots of dogs..."


"She'll probably come back as an animal. She loved animals."


"Even though she wasn't a Christian, I think she's in Heaven..."

--"Oh Jesus... and if she's not?"

My sister knew her life was the only one she had. It's why she tried to fit so much stuff into it. She knew that how she lived was important because it really was her one opportunity to jump out of an airplane, to swim with sharks and sea turtles, to gather friends and help others to smile.

The magic of my sister was all right here, right now, right in front of all who are still alive. The real magic of my sister was that- out of billions of possibilities- Sandy showed up and lived an incredible fifty years full of life and wonder.

And that's the most comforting thought of all.


fairyhedgehog said...

It's hard to know what to say, Scott. Everyone grieves in their own way and I suppose people say the things that would comfort them - or that they think would comfort them.

It sounds like your sister really made the most of her life and that's what's most important to you.

Jeannie said...

I think people say the things that they would find comfort in hearing themselves. It's too bad we inflict ourselves on grieving people in this way but it's such a difficult time for everyone. I hope you can gloss over those things you find ridiculous and can take them as well-meaning thoughts from people who care.

meno said...

Death seems to make heroes of everyone. I've never understood that either.

Just like illness seems to make people brave. I don't get that either.

Shrinky said...

I am so sorry Scott, I know how close you and she were, how much love there was between you. Empty platitudes are pretty useless, I guess the ones who mouth them just want you to know they care and want to make it "better". Nothing will do that of course, the hurt is just something that is. (Hugs)

Jean said...

to make THIS life worthwhile because, we just.don't.know.

Anonymous said...

"She knew that HOW she lived was important ..."

Your sister really LIVED her life, she didn't stand on the sidelines waiting for something amazing to happen.

That's what matters Scotty.

Lots of love. xxx

Mushy said...

Both are comforting thoughts to me.

Wonderful post...just had to tell ya.