Day of the Dead

I had a wonderful time at the Day of the Dead festival today in Los Angeles, but ironically there has been quite a bit of death around me lately.  My friend Dee lost her husband after a painful bout with cancer.  I was just told that my new pal Reggie Boyd, guitar player extrordinaire, has had a long term kidney illness take a turn for the worse.  There is a real possibility he will not survive and is heading to the Bay Area to get his affairs in order.  My dear friend Jessica had a close friend take his own life.*  All in the span of a few days.

My own relationship with death and dying is not an easy one.  I fear it.  I am sometimes paralyzed by my fear of it.  I had a dream when I was seventeen and in that dream I witnessed my own death. Ironically, I was at an advanced aged and the passing itself was calm and painless, but with all the drama inherent with being a seventeen year old girl I panicked. I had heard an urban myth that if you dream your death you will die immediately in your sleep.  Even though all evidence pointed to the contrary (ie the fact that I woke up) I spent months in a state of clenched anxiety, waiting for the reaper to come for me or my family.

I know this is a process, and a natural one.  I know my lifelong atheism offers no comfort for this stage in the game.  I know that you cannot rail against the inevitable tides of time.  Ask not for whom the bell tolls, and all that sort of thing.  But I see the hurt and the anguish of those left behind and it inspires an even greater fear in me.   Will I leave my mark?  Will I slip gentle into the dark passage with nary a ripple?  I am obstinate and willful and fight against all the things that anger me.  This is a fight I cannot win.  Does it get easier to accept?  I guess I will find out in due time.

*If you want to read a beautiful testimony to love and a refusal to judge the human condition written by a real writer, check out Jessica’s homage to her friend M.

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