Death is a Strange Thing

Death is something that no one can avoid.

At least not yet. As I said in the title death is strange for many reasons. Some people experience a lot of death, and some people very little. Sometimes, a lot of the time, people get very upset very quickly. A smaller part of the population are calm in the immediate wake of a traumatic event such as the passing of someone close, and then later are hit by extreme emotion.

In the end of last year I lost my Aunt Jo who I grew up spending a lot of time with. She had five children who obviously were affected very deeply. She was an incredible woman who leaves behind her a legacy of achievement and compassion that will be continued through her children. In the aftermath of her passing I was very comfortable; I was not overcome with emotion, I was not clouded with distress. I was surprised at my ability to think logically and help lead my mother and my cousins through the immense tragedy they had all experienced. I spent a lot of time with my mom around then as it was her sister who had passed. It was something we had seen coming for a while, but is also not something you can ever fully prepare yourself for.

A few weeks went by until the funeral that we had for my aunt, and I’m truly not sure that I had shed a tear until that day. That’s not to try and express a sense of masculinity because I would be the very first to admit that I am very emotional, but simply to try and help highlight the point I am about to make. I cried a little during the service, mostly because it caused me so much pain to watch my cousins, five people I share blood with, and have spent huge amounts of my life with and known my entire life, experience such immense grief as they did that day and still feel to this day. But it was on my way home from Olympia that I think it really sunk in.

My wife and I were discussing what we would stop and get for dinner and then had somehow, possibly in the heat of a riveting discussion, we passed all of our options and now would have to either drive past our house or turn around to get something. Minor inconveniences on a normal day, but something about this hiccup on that day was the final straw. I immediately became hysterical, pulled over at a gas station 3 miles from our house and demanded that my wife leave me and allow/force me to walk home. With obvious hesitation she obliged and drove home and waited for me to arrive.

On the walk home I listened to Tell ’em Steve Dave and cried intermittently. The walk was slightly farther than I had estimated but it was what I had asked for. As far as I can recall, we went to bed shortly after as it had been an extremely long day. The following day I was supposed to go to work so I woke up at 4 A.M. like I normally do and went on with my routine. I sat on the couch while getting dressed and doing whatever else I do to get ready in the morning, and was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t stop crying, and ended up staying home from work that day just to spend time with myself. I theorized at that time, because of my own experience, that the people who have the delayed emotional reaction to large trauma are here to help those who deal with it immediately.  The delayed reaction is the brain allowing itself to think logically and side step the emotion that can cause people to make irrational decisions.

Both (admittedly simplified) sides of this emotional situation I think are necessary and vital to each other. In times of chaos there needs to be some people who are able to at least attempt to maintain order. And when those who attempt to keep the order are finally able to sit back and feel the very emotions they were attempting to control. Everyone needs to be able to experience and deal with trauma and tragedy and horror in their own way, but no one should do it on their own.

I know this was a heavy first topic, but it has been a very interesting week. We are having some guests on this week and so the show will also be a little different but I think we have some really great stuff in store for you. Offies blog post will drop on the same day next week and the pod will be out on Monday. Thank you everything.