Saturday, November 15, 2008

All Souls

Last week Mad wrote about relative death, dying. Checkin' out, kickin' the bucket, the big casino in the sky. Expiration. The end. I left mostly the following in the comments on that post.

"With my children I have, sort of, stopped living. With them I became eternal and yet I have lost all ground to a temporal value to my own life -- in my reference to them. I pray to me they will live forever and from there I have accepted death -- all deaths -- before -- and around -- them. For me it is a liberation.

My great-grandfather died in 1943 in one of those wretched Saskatchewan deaths -- "mangled in a threshing machine". Horrific enough? No. My father was 5 years old at the time and his poppa's namesake. My dad has oft told me it's a bit of a thing to stand in front of a gravestone with your name on it at the age of 5.

My daughter is four. She does not seem to have any profound fears of death (her fears generally few, infact). She is a curious one. In this passed spring she realized everything had died last winter -- and she hadn't noticed. That really annoyed her, I think. Both she and her neighbour-friend (a youngin' of similar vintage) spent a lot of the spring questioning their respective moms about death. What if baby brother fell into the water? What if the squirrel went into the wood chipper with the pruning? etcetera etcetera.

My daughter has been to two funerals in her four years, she has stomped bugs and she weathered the loss of her grandparent's beloved kitty pretty all quite circumspect. She wonders about it all and that is comfort for me. I, on the other hand, tremble and melt. I remember being lifted over my poppa's casket at the age of five to kiss goodbye. I was quite nonplussed at that time. But soon it sets in and by the time I lost grandma at the age of 16 I had been perfected of the unraveling.

I don't think I'm wrong. I can't think either are wrong. The circumspect and distance or the meltaway unraveling. Still, I envy those with the composure and the faith. I imagine that way might be there for my children, to indemnify them. Can't we all see the spin that is just entirely selfish of me in that?

Tonight across the room I spy the terrarium with 4 'saved' ladybugs. We feed them raisins and mist the bowl daily. We have brought them in offering protection from the reality of winter. The silencing of bees, the dropping of the leaves the extinction of blooms cast off for this group. We do for them something while knowing thousands, million are outside possibility of care. It seems a worthwhile conversation in this interregnum of sense and curiosity. This spring will hold little surprise.

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Blogger Mad said...

I had lost grandparents and aunts and uncles but I didn't really understand death until my Mom died. It took me out at the knees and left me a changed being.

It's funny all this talk about death with Miss M. I had thought that when she started figuring out death, she would be afraid of losing me or the MadDad but she's figured out death before she's truly grasped aging and, as such, it's really only her own death that concerns her. I think that bigger fears are waiting for her just around the bend.

7:56 p.m.  
Blogger cheesefairy said...


I have not lost anyone important to me. I am in almost complete denial that this bliss I am living in now will ever change. The hammer will be hard, I suspect.

8:11 p.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

We lost one of our cats this year, Pumpkinpie's favourite. She took it well, really. We had talked about death before after my mother brought it up at Remembrance Day last year and she talked about death for months (THANK YOU< MOM), so she knew what it was. We also were careful to make sure that we had gotten rid of the body and composed ourselves first, so she wasn't getting the strangeness of seeing Ginger or the scary,emtion-causing sight of my own weeping. I think they take a lot of cues from us, so I wanted to be calm, first. Still, I was surprised by the questions she had - how she wanted details. Where did she die? What did she look like? And so on. It seems weird, but I guess it was her making sense of it more concretely. Still, she held up very well.

10:00 a.m.  

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