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Author Topic: Differing views on Death  (Read 2666 times)

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Mongo

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Differing views on Death
« on: November 09, 2009, 03:45:34 AM »

Woah! Heavy topic I know, but one I feel the need to talk about. Partly because of the fact that Pagans usually have a vastly differing view on life and death than many of the other mainstream religions, but mostly because of the flak I've received because of my take on death.

Now for Wiccans as well as many Pagans, Life is sacred and the passing of a life to whatever lies beyond is something not to be taken lightly.

In my case, I feel much the same way. This past Friday, a step-grandmother of mine died. One of a Coven of local Wiccans (Gardnerian traditionalists by belief) overheard the conversation I was having with a co-worker. He came to me to offer condolences. I thanked him but informed him that it was not needed and I have no real feelings on the matter.

He didn't seem to like the fact that I was so emotionless regarding her death. Offering my monthly quote of "how un-Wiccan of me" lectures from this group and it's members.

In the past I've been ripped into regarding Christmas, Halloween, political leanings, diet, thoughts on gun ownership, death penalty, you name it...I've been raked over the coals. At least I would have been if I personally gave a wet slap of their opinions.

"Sherman, set the waybac machine for 1985 please."

Back in '85, my step-father was forced by circumstance to have to move his family back to his home and have us live with his folks while he narrowed his general engineering degree to something more specialized and thus marketable to employers. A GenEngDeg was overqualified for half the jobs on the market and under qualified for the rest. It was here where I had a chance to get to know my step-family. Most of them liked me, my grandmother...not so much.

As she saw it, she loved her son, tolerated his wife, doted on her granddaughter, but as for me? Well my status could only have been lower in her eyes if I was born out of wedlock. And even that comparison was like comparing dog poop to cat poop and debating on which is worse to step in with your brand new pumps.

I could wax poetic on what she did to show her disdain for me, but I could type for hours on the subject. Suffice it to say that there was emotional attachment between us. I showed her the respect due an elder from a child while we lived with her and I did my best to avoid her when we found an apartment of our own. And since moving out of the state have done my level best to forget the whole unfortunate affair altogether.

So with her passing all I feel is a concern for the family members who liked me since she was the matriarch of that family and her loss will be sorely felt, the acknowledgement that another life has ended and has passed on, and a complete lack of emotion over what her loss means to me personally.

I never attached myself to her personally and the news of her death had as much effect on me as the news of Ted Kennedy's did. Less even since I feel the effects of the infighting over his now-vacant seat.

So this lack of feeling on my part has generated some interesting comparisons from members of the local Coven. At best I've been called "a [deity accursed] Vulcan" (which I, being a Trek fan, actually take as a complement under less antagonistic circumstances) and at worse I've been compared to sociopaths and their emotional detachment to...well everything.

But am I really that horrific a person simply because I do not shed a single tear for someone who showed me no respect as a human being? A person who made actual effort to make me feel unwanted. Even after I moved out on my own, this woman made a parting jab at me by sending my maternal grandmother a family newsletter to her for the first time in 9 years of my parent's marriage and coincidently (or not depending on how you look at it) addressing it to her and not to me even though I lived there in my grandmother's over-garage apartment. Am I really that much of an evil person?

I do not think so. I feel that if I were to be an evil person there are so many things I could be doing at this point. Singing "Ding-Dong, the Witch is Dead" would be the least of it. But I choose to treat her death as I treated her life. With polite indifference and an attitude of "You have your universe, I have mine...and never the twain shall meet."

Oh yeah, I could be pouring that 30 year old bottle of Scotch I have under my dresser over her grave...after filtering it through my kidneys first, but instead I prefer my dignity.

So how about your thoughts on the death of people whom you have no connection to either in cases similar to mine, or of others who only read about in the paper. How do you see it?

M
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Fox

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 10:01:01 AM »

Why should a person's death affect me when their life didn't affect me in any way or at the very least, not in a positive one?  I don't think it matters what their relationship is to you.  I had a great grandmother that I felt very much the same way about.  The brief period of time I stayed with her was horrible for me and I didn't feel the least bit of remorse over her passing.  I did feel bad for the family members that cared for her because they were grieving, but that is about as far as I went with any kind of emotion.

I don't think it makes you a bad person at all that you felt no real emotion about your step grandmother's death.  It is my opinion that anyone that thinks they should tell you how you should feel about anything is rather full of themselves and should be ignored anyway.
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2009, 10:06:12 AM »

I agree with Fox. :squeezes:

As for the morons ... what a bunch of self-absorbed pompous jerks.  I would never presume to tell someone else how they should be feeling ... even if I knew the whole story.  Though I must say, if it had been me, I'd have just thanked him and moved on, not offered the extra tidbit about not being affected and thus inviting further conversation.  Then again, I suspect I'm much closer to being anti-social than you are. ;)
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dragonspring

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2009, 11:21:27 AM »

I agree with what the others have said.   It really doesn't bother me if someone I don't care for passes on.  Actually, I sometimes think that maybe they have learned some lessons and won't be such a butthead in their next incarnation...

Besides, what makes us so arrogant as to think that a human's passing is any more tragic than that of the cow I'm eating for dinner or of the tree that was chopped down to make the dining room table I eat on?
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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2009, 11:40:51 AM »

If you didn't miss "not seeing her" when she was alive, why should anyone thing you will miss "not seeing her" now that she's gone from this existance? Unless the "More-Wiccan-Than-Thou" group feel that death is to be feared and not something that is a natural part of the cycle? Extend your emotion and empathy for the people who WILL miss not being able to see her, and don't worry that you don't miss her (which, to me, is primarily what mourning is).
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vordan

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2009, 01:45:01 PM »

I feel bad for the worms when I go fishing and am a sentimental softie about everything. Regardless of that, I don't miss those who didn't treat me well. I don't go to very many funerals and I don't shed tears for most folks. Even when my parents died I was stone faced around many people. Raise a glass perhaps to her and wish her well on her last great adventure. It is beyond rude on their part, to criticize how a man grieves.
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Banrion_Lile

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2009, 08:16:57 PM »

People often automatically think 'What a cold :censored: '  when I say I will not mourn my mother's death (she's actually my aunt, her and my uncle adopted my brother and I when I was younger) Actually I'll feel a since of reliefs and justice. I won't say happyness as she's actually rather quite pathetic an perhaps the closest emotion I'll feel to mourning will be pitty. In all honesty she is the closest thing to an absolute negative force that I have ever known. I used to think perhaps it was just me but being a mother myself now I realize, no, it really was her. She is extremely shallow, closed minded, myopic, self loathing, and more than ready to blame everything on everyone else as she wallows in a deep stream of self pity. As a child I was nothing more than a doll to her. Something to put on display and show what a good mother she was. I'm doing very well now that I'm not living with her and I still show her respect as she did take my brother and I in but I will not mourn her passing.

I don't feel it is evil to not shed a tear for those who've not made a positive impact on our lives regardless of relation.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 01:31:46 AM by Banrion_Lile »
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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2009, 08:34:57 PM »

Those who claim to truly mourn the passing of every relative they've had pass over... are lying. Quite possibly to themselves as much as the rest of the world.
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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2009, 08:42:31 PM »

We feel what we feel.  Our emotions just ARE.  No one can tell us what to feel.  Well, they CAN, but they are wasting their breath. 

Mongo, you deal with some very difficult people. 
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PaganOne

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2010, 09:11:47 AM »

I used to say that when my father dies that I'm going to jump up and down on his grave to make sure he doesn't get out.  It is only then I will be free.

Then I came to realize that all my hate and hurt affected not only me, but my husband and my children.  My hate was a burning ember in my gut that spilled over into every aspect of my life. 

I came to realize that the only way to save myself and those I truly loved was to find a way to heal.  I have a habit of saying that the Goddess gives when the time is right.  She lead me to yoga and from there to Reiki.  After embarking on a journey of spiritual healing using Reiki, I came to see my father in a new light.  I now understand why he is the person he is.  I do not excuse him, but understanding has gone a long way in allowing and enabling me to heal. 

It puzzles my father these days that I no longer rise to the bait he sets out or seem much bothered to care when he disses my opinions and beliefs.  He has no clue as the pain I have suffered at his hand and word.  That is okay with me, as I have finally taken control of my emotions and my life.  When he dies, I rather think I will feel a bit of relief, but nothing much more.  He will be cremated with no funeral service.  At least I'll be spared putting up with pain in the butt relatives.

If anyone is interested, Brett Bevell authored an inexpensive wonderful little book called Reiki for Spiritual Healing.  It's a gem.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 02:55:58 PM by PaganOne »
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Loki

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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 03:46:16 PM »

Besides, what makes us so arrogant as to think that a human's passing is any more tragic than that of the cow I'm eating for dinner or of the tree that was chopped down to make the dining room table I eat on?

I agree with this statement and echo what the others have said. Why would you mourn the passing of someone who either you did not know or whom was a negative force in your life? I say saving your own and her dignity by just letting her pass on was probably the most rightcheous thing to do!

And it depends on your own beliefs and yourself as to how you grieve and such, Grjuban'Roma (a type of gypsy my family are) actually celebrate death with feasts and drinking and songs with dancing. A persons 'deathday' is probably celebrated more than any other birthday they had. So our grieving to others probably looks terrible as we shed very few tears and drink, sing, dance and feast until we collapse!
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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2010, 10:45:01 PM »

Loki, you just described an Irish wake.
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Re: Differing views on Death
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 07:15:37 AM »

Good ole Tinkers (The Irish), they always did know how to have a good time!
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