On Death and Mourning

Death comes to your home like an unannounced guest and always stays long after you’re ready for it to go.

I came up with this idea many years ago. Perhaps its even a quote from somebody else. I don’t know, but it captures the feeling I have in dealing with loss and mourning.

In my head, death is always personified as a she, not an it. This is not, at least I hope, some latent misogyny, rather a reflection of how much Santa Muerte has infected my mind and my writing. I think we need a patron saint for death. Like love, death is a valuable thing to our culture and society. It changes things in ways that is difficult to understand up until you go through it. Its a bit like sex in that regard. There are some things in which words do not do justice to the experience.

One thing I can say for sure, as a man I didn’t fully understand manhood up until the point we buried my father and my father-in-law. After they died, every major decision I’ve made feels like performing a dangerous routine without a safety net. I have this sense of, “Oh shit. I could really fuck this up, and I don’t have anyone to call for backup.” It is both terrifying, and in some weird way, freeing.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but at the same time I know deep in my bones that it is necessary. As necessary as breathing.

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