Before I really settle into this subject, let me lay the groundwork…dig up the grass, pitch aside the rock and gravel, rake out the large chunks of dirt, and smooth out the surface, if you will. I think…indeed, perhaps even know, that a backdrop must be in place, in order to have a finished painting.
At the ripe old age of 49 yrs. old, my experience with death has been limited. In fact, it has been pretty much non-existent. Certainly, I have known people who have died but by the time it had occurred, they were no longer a part of my life. Either some quarrel or issue had ended our connection or time had simply allowed us to drift apart. Thus when the moment of their death occurred, the impact upon me emotion-wise and otherwise, had been minimal. Not trying to take away anything from their deaths or the loss of them. Just stating something that I believe should be fairly obvious to most who read this. That the death of someone, who you were close to at the time of departure, is going to have more impact upon you.
I also believe I need to make clear that I never really got, how or why people made such a big deal over the death, of an animal…a pet. I always thought that it was not the same as a human being dying and I guess technically it is not the same. However, there are certain aspects of it, I now have begun to grasp. When you spend a lot of time with a pet they become, in your mind and heart, an integral part of the family. While the memories and communications may be different, than that of humans, they certainly do exist and become part of who we are. The recent death of my pet taught me just how much this is true. When you spend everyday with any living creature, they become more a part of your life, than most humans ever do.
Thus when death comes calling he does not come alone and he does not leave until you fully realize what you are supposed to from it. Death may not arrive with a trumpet sound or a loud clash. He may appear as a dark figure in the distance. But no matter how he arrives, he brings depression with him. Depression arrives in the same manner as death. Either quick and sudden or slowly creeping in. Just the idea of someone close to you dying brings forth this friend. He is like a leech. He will suck you dry as long as you allow him to, and to a degree, you must allow him to do so. You must allow him to play his part, for it is the role he was cast in and therefore, he must do his part and you must do yours. You must accept it and then you can begin to work on eliminating him. For all roles, come to their conclusions and so it is the same, with depression.
Then comes the moment that death actually does his job. He takes the being, human or otherwise, out of this world and shows them the path to the afterlife. When he does this he calls in his other friend. That friend is named Guilt. Guilt will arrive in some form or fashion, no matter how much or little you had to do, with the death. Guilt arrives because he also has his role to play. His role is to make you think. He is kinda sneaky in that, you often do not see him coming. But he whispers to you, when your mind is quiet. He wants you to think about it because he knows if you do not, then you will never be able to move forward. He makes you play the blame game. He makes you think about every little thing you did before the death. He makes you question everything. He does this because, he knows you need to at some point come to terms with what happened, and your part to play in it. He wants you to realize that each of us has a part to play in each other’s lives and deaths. It was this last thing, I did not get at first.
I only saw my guilt. The actions I had taken, the decisions I had made. I questioned whether there was something I could of done differently to have prevented it. Of course, if anyone looks at those type of things they are going think that maybe they made mistakes. Maybe they did things wrong. Maybe they acted wrong to the situation. They are going to question every action and every decision, and in the end they are going to realize, that it is possible that they made some errors. Of course, they are going to see this. We all do. We make errors because we are human. It is a part of who we are and one of the main reasons we are here in the first place. Certainly nobody can dispute the fact, that a major reason for us being here, is to learn and grow. Learning requires error. Let me say that again because it is that important. True learning requires us to make errors. Understanding this basic fact is what guilt was trying to show us. That no matter how much our involvement, we cannot accept all the blame because we are human, and do make mistakes. It is a part of our nature.
When guilt has finally opened your eyes to these facts, then the last friend of death makes their arrival. This friend is named Acceptance. Acceptance tells you that we all play our roles, for good or for bad, but ultimately it is never really completely within our own hands. We cannot control what is without, we can only control what is within. We cannot make the world do what we want, we can only make ourselves, do what we want. Even serial killers do not completely control things as much as they think they do. Do they decide who is placed in front of them to become their next victim? Certainly not! Do they decide ultimately who will die? They might think they do but they have no control over whether there is ever going to be the opportunity. Nobody can control others or the environment around them. In the end, only fate gets to decide who or what, lives and dies and when. Once you understand this fact, then accepting what has happened, can occur. It should be noted acceptance does not mean that guilt nor depression have left. Acceptance only opens the door for them to leave.
It is you, who must decide when the time has come, to move on. It is you, who must make them leave. For all three of the friends of death reside within you, and are within your circle of control.
While my time has not come to send away death’s friends, I hope that this little writing helps others, and maybe by chance, it may even help me.