25 December 2009

necessary reflections on mortality...

December 25, 2009

It's hard to think about the holidays and not be a little depressed about my parents being deceased. this is not a slight against my girlfriend's parents, who have embraced me as a member of their family, but it's just not the same. it's even a little scary, as their family and my family ate the same breakfast (ham and eggs, with pineapple). that being said, it's still a little difficult to pretend like everything is fine, and the day isn't getting to me. but this isn't the first time I've had the Christmas at The Family, and all things considered, it's a pretty enjoyable time, as I actually like my girlfriends parents (different than my parents obviously, but I enjoy their company, even if I'm not the best at showing that). but today, it's a little different. the death of a member of my debate family has had a larger effect on me than i would have imagined.

The passing of Scott Deatherage, former Director of Forensics at Northwestern University and the Director of the National Association of Urban Debate League has hit me harder than I would have imagined. It's not like I've had a ton of interactions with the man, he never coached me, never led a lab of mine, and as a coach, have never had kids in his lab. In other words, we had no real base of interaction, and combining that with neither of us being particularly social to people we don't know, we never had many chances to interact. this being said, it's still rattling me to my core more than it should. I think it's because death, in general, effects me more than it should. One of the downsides of having numerous people close to you die is that allows, more forces, a mode of empathy in me than I would like to have, as that empathy forces me to address the passing of people important in my life. It means that, when people are experiencing loss, I tend to find myself gravitating to them, to offer help to them in any way i can, and always offer my ear to them, as I know how it feels to want to talk and to not want to over-burden the people you've been relying on. I also know it's complicated to talk to someone who has lost someone important. Most people, with nothing but good intentions in their hearts, have a tendency to say exactly the wrong shit to you, trying to be helpful. There's nothing worse than not being allowed to react when something bad has happened, because you're trying to not hurt the feelings of someone trying to help you, it just makes the whole situation worse. Sometimes it's nice to be able to talk to someone that understands that sometimes, all you really want is a sounding board, someone to talk to, but someone that will just shut the fuck up and let them talk, which you'd only really, really understand are people that have been there before, needed that silence and wasn't able to get it. Just knowing the kind of pain they are going through makes me feel for the people left, and it means that death, collectively and individually permeates my core more than it should or is probably helpful, but i can say that it's the core of the person i have become, and sometimes i think it's the base of the limited forms of compassion and caring I am capable of showing.

So it seems that, as in all things, the process of death is always crucial in the creation of life.

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