3 min read

The Sound of Her Wings

The Sound of Her Wings
I don't care if you don't like comics, you should read Sandman. All credit to Neil Gaiman

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat disruptive to a regular writing schedule, which irritates me, because I pride myself on being consistent.

But, there are times when you just need to let things go, and make room to deal with other, more important, stuff.

Like death.

Yes, that's how much it takes for me to temporarily give up on something that I told myself I was going to do.

You know, maybe should work on that...

Anyway, this post is going to be part filler, part philosophy, part attempt to reignite my writing engine, so if that's not something overly interesting to you, then you are more than welcome to tap out and come back another time.

I always really enjoyed the way that Death was represented in the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. She attended to her work, that of ushering souls onto whatever comes next, with the greatest of care and respect. She understood that her nature, the nature of endings, was not something to be feared and maligned, but something to be accepted as an inevitable part of life.

In a similar vein, I also quite enjoyed the character of DEATH in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. While I never read the books quite as thoroughly as I did the Sandman series, DEATH was represented as similarly inevitable, but with a distinct tinge of good humour and pragmatism about the whole thing.

Now, while I like these representations of death in media, I don't specifically believe there is a personification of death that is just sort of hanging around, waiting to reap souls as necessary. That just seems silly.

But the representation, that death is inevitable and necessary, give me comfort of a sort. Death is neither good, nor evil; it just is.

I do not fear death, not when it will eventually happen to me, nor when it will happen to those I care for. That's not to say there are no emotions at all, there are plenty, but there is no point in fearing something that is inevitable. That's just a bunch of extra pain for no gain.

I do not malign death either; why hate something that has no intent? Also, getting angry about the way that a life ends, feels like it undervalues the rest of the life itself. If anything, when it happens, it should be taken as a great point to stop, reflect and celebrate all of the things (both good and bad) that came before.

I have a extremely limited amount of mental and emotional energy, so wasting it on either fearing or hating something like death would be a poor use of a precious resource.

Of course, this entire perspective may very well be just a coping mechanism. Something I've put into place to help me to deal with the inevitable loss of the things that I love.

If it is a coping mechanism, it's one that I put together a long time ago and have stuck with ever since.

Which means it's probably working.

I would be remiss to not clarify recent events though, because that's what sparked this particular stream of consciousness.

I'm not going to get into specifics, but suffice to say I experienced one actual death and one close call recently, and I was very close to both of the affected parties.

The normal response to this sort of thing is to say that it's been a tough time, but the honest truth is that for me, it hasn't really felt all that tough. I got sad, I said my goodbyes, I helped those around me, and I kept moving forward.

I don't think I'm stuck in any of the traditional phases of grief either.

  • I don't think I'm in denial. I'm well aware of what has happened
  • I'm not angry. There is no point
  • I'm not trying to bargain. Who would I bargain with?
  • I'm not depressed? Or maybe I am, it's hard to tell

So, as far as I can tell, just leaves acceptance.

And that feels about right.

It might be a different story if I got hit with two actual deaths instead of just the one. I suspect that would have changed the equation somewhat and I would probably be in a much worse state emotionally.

But, again, there is no point thinking about that. Reality is what it is, and accepting that and working within it is by far the most pragmatic thing to do.

In summary, I've missed a few blog posts because of the looming spectre of death, but I'm okay, life continues apace and it's time to get back into it.

And at the end of the day, everything ends.

And that's okay.