The concept of reacting to death seems to be different in my life - as are many of my emotional reactions. My belief system has been fragmented together based on practicality and the things I know. I don't believe something easily because I feel the need to be educated about it. Although I feel I'm less logical than frog, for example, I feel that logic plays a large role in my beliefs and emotional reactions. (If you ask my husband, though, he will tell you that I commonly have emotional outbursts above and beyond my logical capabilities.) WHY is a big deal for me. WHY do we celebrate this particular soandso? WHY did people feel the need to do this?
Following this pattern of thought, I grieve differently than anyone I know...or, let's say, I grieve differently than anyone I have SEEN grieving. And I imagine that this is because my brain processes the information in such a way that it is logical to me. If you look up the word 'death' in the dictionary, you will find a definition similar to this: the total and permanent cessation of all of the vital functions of an organism. That means the body has stopped functioning. Nearly every faith on the planet, though, has a belief system for what happens to the spirit after the body stops working. It isn't foreign to us, as faith-based organisms, to have an answer, whether logical or not, to the big "what happens next" question. In keeping with this, my first reaction has typically been: Ok. There's nothing else I can do about it now.
Part of me feels that this is a cold response - heartless maybe. However, the rest of me feels that my loved one has moved beyond their body and onto something different. Maybe reincarnation. Maybe kicking back on a cloud for a few hundred years. Maybe they're just not so damn tired anymore, and they can see the big, whole picture...in which case, I'm not sad that they have moved on. I'm pretty happy for them, as a matter of fact. Sure, I recognize the loss in my own life - I will miss this person now that my life has been altered by his / her absence - but I can't say that I'm sad they have died. Shocked? Sure. Uncertain? Absolutely.
My uncle died on Monday. He was the youngest child of my mother's mother. He is survived by two children, one boy and one girl. The circumstances of his death were shocking, tragic really. I can't say that I knew him tremendously well, but I did spend a lot of time with him when I was growing up. It is unfortunate to me that I won't be able to connect with him further throughout my life, but maybe he's less aggravated now. I have decided not to attend the funeral for a myriad of reasons (for example, he will be buried in the mountains, in the middle of winter, and in the middle of an ice storm), and I feel that I've made my peace with his passing. The logical part of me has processed all of the information that I have, and I'm keeping on with keeping on. I feel the need to say, though, that at the very least, I will miss knowing that he's out there holding down the forest.