Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Consequence of Moving

So, I have been having a few bad days.  The reason for this is the recent news of the death of an old friend.  I actually haven't spoken to him for a couple of years, but about a year or so ago we learned that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is nearly always fatal, so as soon as we heard the diagnosis everyone knew he had limited time.  He died on Sunday.  He was my age. 

When I first heard, I didn't feel very sad.  I equated it to when my aunt had died of breast cancer about 10 years ago.  When I learned she was sick, I was inconsolable but by the time she passed away I had processed my feelings.  I said that I felt that way about this friend. 

But I quickly learned that wasn't true.  With Matt out of town on business (and leaving tonight to go out west where the friend lived for the memorial this weekend), I began to dwell on the situation.  I had a "mini-meltdown" as one friend called it.  I turned to my personal blog just to have someone to talk to, even virtual.  One friend pointed out something pretty profound: 

Here's a thing, or rather two things: Regardless of the fact that you all made a deliberate decision to sell your house and move as part of your overall goals, and you wanted to do all that, it's still stressful. Then there's the fact that we've lost many of the rituals and social ceremony around death, the purpose of which is to help people cope. So cut yourself some slack.
And suddenly it hit me.  Because the house has been for sale, I had packed away my Persephone shrine.  I would have normally gone to it to make offerings and prayed for my friend.  I didn't realize how lost I felt without it, especially at this time. 

Having symbols or rituals to help us deal with the death of a loved one is imperative.  Without it, we feel lost and alone, even though we know we are not. 

I decided that I would come here and share my memories and make a virtual shrine for my prayers and offerings.

I have so many memories of my friend.  He was ridiculously stubborn.  I remember a time when he got mad at the people he was with at a strip club in Canada and he decided to walk home...back to Detroit! We didn't know where he was and he showed back up again the next afternoon. I remember being so mad at him once while we were playing a board game with friends, I don't remember which one, and I threw the dice at his head and screamed at him.  I couldn't begin to tell you now what we were fighting about.  He was a good guy.  And he was way too young. So I offer this prayer, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, slightly altered: 

Be to him, Persephone,

All the things I might not be:
Take his head upon your knee.
He that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
He that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Heaven,—Persephone,
Take his head upon your knee:
Say to him, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."

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