Essays, Opinions

Death In The Dark of The Year

Sannion had a conversation with a customer about the recent mass shooting in Sandy Hook, CT, and it struck a chord with me.  (To be fair, Sannion is odd, but he says amazingly profound things often enough that I keep reading)

Me: Why do you doubt god’s existence because some kids you didn’t even know died? Thousands of people die every fucking day, many of them children. What makes these kids so special? Because a bunch of them went out together? Because their deaths are being covered on the news? Because they’re American?
Her: It’s horrible!
Me: Yeah. Every death is horrible. No death is more or less horrible than any other though, at least to the person who’s dying. We all gotta pay the price of life someday. I’m gonna die. You’re gonna die. If there was any justice in the world that bum out there would drop dead right now.

That’s an important bit, though, isn’t it? Every death is awful. Every death is sacred. We all die – it is the last great Mystery.

I suspect that’s part of why deaths of so many, especially those so young, are so hard for many of us to grapple with – the sacred is made profane this way, turned into something horrific, by someone without honor.

Somewhere else I saw someone post that she hated the admonition to go home and hug your own kids because of the death of those at Sandy Hook. Her point was that she shouldn’t have to have death to tell her to love her kids, nor should those deaths guilt her into loving her kids more. I know that when a child dies amongst the support groups I’m a part of, I do go home and hug my kids, but I do so knowing that under different circumstances, it could have been them. It’s a little bit of survivors guilt, I think.

This is the darkest of the year. The time for new beginnings. We’ve released what no longer serves us, to make room for the new and helpful things to come into our lives.  Death, though, is just a step on the road, a beginning of its own, and it’s a good time of year to consider our own mortality.

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