Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19/11—Mourning a Loved One

Today's Draw: The Seven of Vessels from the Wildwood Tarot. Have you ever lost someone or something and found yourself being distracted from mourning? Is there anything special you did to mourn someone that you'd like to share? And do you find yourself speaking more of how someone died than you do about how they lived?

Traditionally this card is about choice and, perhaps, having more choices than you can manage. But in the Wildwood, the card bears the word "mourning" and is about allowing the necessary time for recovery.

It's odd that this card came up tonight because I just had a long conversation with someone about the circumstances around my father's death and how they affected mourning. As I've mentioned here before, my father was murdered. And when something like that happens there's a series of events that sort of screw with the natural process of mourning.

There's the search and apprehension of the killer, if you're so lucky. There's the investigation prior to trial. And there's trial. And then, if there are extenuating circumstances like those that exited in my father's death, there are other investigations and trials.

In all, there were three court cases involving my father's murderer. We were lucky. They all took place within a year's time. That's not always the case. Sometimes it could take years. And the thing is, from one phase to another, from one case to another, you're holding your breath, focused more on obtaining justice than on mourning. You get caught up in the elements of the "case", rather than on the death of a loved one.

Before you know it, a year's gone by and you haven't properly mourned. And it's kind of like the envelope for mourning has closed, because they've been gone a year. You're already used to them not being around. You've shed tears, but you've also been distracted. Your ability/opportunity to mourn the person "normally" becomes one more thing the murderer took when they took your loved one's life. It's just an interesting take to consider for those of you who have lost loved ones in more traditional ways.

One of the weird things about the death of a loved one—and this is true in pretty much any circumstance—is that we tend to talk about their death more than their life. Have you ever noticed that? People live 40, 60, 80 years and we focus on a few minutes, hours, days of their lives. I think it's a lot like the mourning thing I was discussing earlier in one sense—the sense that something distracts you from what is really important—the loss of a living, breathing, three-dimensional being in our lives.

If we focus on their death, we don't have to focus on the part that really mattered...their life. In some ways, missing out on the normal process of my father's death could be considered a gift. There was so much other-worldly crap going on, so many other details to sort out, that the actual loss was pushed aside. It's like if you had a migraine headache and someone punched you really hard in the arm, your attention might go to the arm and you might forget the migraine, even if only for a second.

Anyway, I think we do things like this to cope. It's so much less invested to say "she died of cancer" than to say "she had a beautiful voice and used to sing around the house all the time." You don't miss the "dying of cancer", but you do miss the singing.

So, I happened to pull the card about mourning just when I thinking about it tonight. Those wacky tarot cards! And these are my thoughts. What are yours?

No comments:

Post a Comment