For some reason, I've been much less suicidal this holiday season than usual. But I know that it's a painful time for many. A season when one is supposed to be happy can make sadness all the more acute. And, of course, there are some brutal memories that sometimes come to the fore at this time of year. PZ Myers writes a rather beautiful post here, illustrated by the brilliant cartoonist Mark Tatulli (above), of how the sudden death of his father on December 26, 1993 still haunts him at this time:
One of the lies we always tell ourselves is that the pain will go away with time, that we'll get over it, that time heals all wounds, and it's not true.
Every loss is forever raw, and we can feel it all again with just a thought or a reminder, like a Christmas phone call to the family. The older you get, the more of these moments of grief you accumulate, and they never leave you.
My father was cremated, and there is no location I can batten upon as a focus, no place for flowers. And strangely enough, florist shops always remind me of my father, too; he took me to a little shop when I was a teenager, and helped me pick out flowers for my first date with the lovely young lady who would several years later be my wife…and it was this same florist shop I went to almost 20 years later to pick out flowers for his funeral. So I'm reduced to this, honoring a memory with an evanescent scattering of electrons on a medium my father never knew anything about. But hey, it's no more transient than petals on a grave, now is it?
Hang in, PZ. And everyone else who's hurting right now.