Thursday, 5 June 2014

On Death

 "Oh Death, where art thou sting" is a famous line from a Christian hymn and whilst, believing that, through Christ, when you die you go to heaven, our human minds are still left reeling when someone close to us leaves us.

This week, our church lost their Pastor (a close friend and mentor of my parents) and I am still fumbling around trying to make sense of it.

So let me write about it.

I'm not presuming to know everyone's feelings on death - it's far too deep a subject. But, from my mind, and my experience, here are some stages that I see evidently.

1) The Shock. Humans, for all our weaknesses, strangely believe that we are immortal, indestructible, masters of our own fate. So when death hits, it rocks our compounded beliefs, shaking the very foundation we have built up since our teenage years.
2) Bereft. A beautiful word that captures the utter feeling of being without. Without that person. Without their presence. Without their breath. You could also add "Searching", because you nver stop looking for them.
3) Absence. I don't think your mind can fully compute the disappearance of another human being without trying to push it into the, "oh, they have just gone on holiday and will be back soon." category.
The air noticeably changes, you can almost feel the cracks in the fabric of this world that make known the removal of an earthly life.
4) Uncoordinated. I spent a lot of my time after my brother's death just bumbling around, passing each day in a cold haze. My limbs worked but nothing felt real.
Your first experience of the death of a loved one makes you truly see BUT it is raw and it is ugly and you can never close your eyes again.
5) Numbness. Not everyone feels this but I did, for many, many years.
When you cut yourself and the wound leaves a scar, often, it becomes numb. I was a complete gaping wound that was dead to anyone's touch (this explained a lot of my years, as a teen, looking for "touch" in all the wrong places) - you can often become obsessed with trying to feel again, choosing disastrous choices in the vain hope that you might know pain, or joy, or something worse.
6) Anger. For me, this comes a long time after all other emotions. An anger directed at God, at the person who died, at yourself. "Why did you take them God?/Why did you leave me?/Why did I not express my love more often?" - The beauty of Anger, is that when your rage has poured out of you, billowing around you like volcanic ash, you remember the richness of that person's life, their character, their strength. From anger comes glorious sorrow, benign acceptance and acknowledgment of how great it was to know that person, even for a short time.
7) Guilt. Perhaps one of the worst, most debilitating feelings that never seems to quite remove itself from your being. It permeates your happiness and forces you to always look backwards, to always look at the dark and feel awful if you strive for the light - for hope.
My guilt was that I would have more memories with my 'new' siblings, that I would love them more than Jhordan. I fear, that by being alive, I am betraying him.
This is a feeling that you have to fight against on a constant basis before it conditions your life to a point where you aren't living, merely surviving in your own created hell.

Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay;
The worst is death, and death will have his day.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written....but its the depth of emotion..honesty and vulnerability with which you have said what you have said....and I am so proud of you my daughter...unbelievably proud...I have seen you cry...I have seen you lock yourself away...try to run and hide...try to speed up your own death...get very angry...
    But I have seen you come thru...and become this amazing daughter of the Most High King....and your brother Jhordan would have been proud..well he is...and so are and dad and your younger siblings; Rohan and Adehle..
    Fall all its ugliness and pain...death also reminds us the memories left behind of a live well lived and well loved and keeps us close to living life as best as we can for the possibility that one day we too will be gone and its what is left behind will helps those grieving...Dad