Joy in the Face of Disaster

It’s been a while — a long while —- since we’ve posted here. Life sometimes inspires blogging, then sometimes interrupts blogging.

Right now, everyone’s life is interrupted. By a rather annoying micro-organism, if we might say so. There is no “normal”, new or not. Accepting any of this — food shortages, government ordered isolation, or worst of all, dying alone, is not normal and should not be accepted as such.

Dying alone. That is perhaps the worst. Yes, we all care about self-preservation, but no one wants to let their loved ones pass alone. And as terrible as that is for those passing, it leaves a traumatic mark on the spirits of those who loved them, a mark one must bear going forward. 

When Dylan Thomas — the poet for whom my son is named — wrote “Do not go gentle into that good noght, he was writing it for the passing of his father. I have held the hand of a beloved family member as they make their journey out of this life, read portions of the Canonical Hours and witnessed Last Rites.  To have to be separated from a loved one as they pass is perhaps a larger trauma and loss than the death itself. Dying alone, and having to witness death from afar, removes one from being able to recall the great joys of life that were shared; that there were triumphs great and small before this final moment; and most of all, that there was love.

It may be hard to think of joy at this time, but we must. Joy is not the blithe unconsciousness of “happiness”, but rather, the antagonist to pain and loss. There are those among us mourning the loss of family and friends that could not be stopped; whose lives were denied a final honor.

Do not leave leave those mourning alone, and if you are facing the loss of someone you care about, let this be the place to record it. Tell the world of their lives, of why you love them, of why and how they should be remembered as people — not just a Covid-19 number.

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