Between the ages of 14 and 33, every single year at least one person close/connected to me died. That’s not entirely unusual in most of the world, but for an American from a small, nuclear, insular family of birth it is a little bit rare.
At 24 or 25 I listed people fallen off the mortal coil. I sometimes wonder at a few relationships I pushed away; was it fear that connection to me would call up their number that much faster?
At 39 that list runs too long. Teachers, friends, the one or two family members that treated me like family…surprisingly (or not, given my risk aversion) no lovers, yet unless you count that first one, the kind-of-sort-of boyfriend when I was 14. 2007 became so exhaustive with my own near-death incidents and yet another tragedy playing out near me that I begged for one thing on December 31st:
please, no deaths this year.
My wish was granted – no deaths in my life in 2008. I dare not ask again.
My father died in 2009. I don’t think one has any relationship with the other. My father decided he was done with life, and he was going to go no matter what anybody did. If it wasn’t leukemia he would have found a way to give himself to something else. It’s a Polish thing, and not something that translates because it’s a way of thinking thing rather than a language thing. All the things his death set in motion were inevitable, deferred only by his presence.
At the age I am now, the circle of death is inevitably widening. People I was close to once that I released from my life have passed away, in addition to those close to me. I got word of one today. The circumstances of the contact and the circumstances of the death trouble me. This was a group of people I walked away from for some pretty solid reasons. That they’re keeping tabs on me is creepy and inappropriate, but pretty much in their behavioral spectrum. As to this person – the way she went was lousy. She’d had a hard life, she was much too young, and my prayers really do go out to her family. I had told her not to contact me about two years ago and I stand by that. That road does not lead to my good, and so I closed it. But I did not wish her ill. I just wanted her and hers to leave me be.
I do not believe that one should not speak ill of the dead. I do not believe that one should speak well of the dead. I believe one should only speak truth of the dead. My truth about this is that I have very little to say – her death may not be protected by the laws of privacy, but her life was interconnected with those still living whom I am honor bound to remain silent about. This is not a situation that calls for discernment above silence.
I have a habit of doing two ancestral remembrances: one at Samhain, and one on New Year’s Eve. She will be honored at the New Year, and I will speak her name at Samhain. That will be the last I speak of it. Rest in peace, as long as you’re willing to rest. I might suggest, former friend, that you stick around on the astral as long as it’s truly good for your children.