Life and Death and Language (November 7, 2013)

Issues of life and death have been at the forefront of many recent personal musings. As a writer and former aspiring singer/actress with a flair for the dramatic, I’ve become more cognizant of the ease with which I throw around mortality idioms:

“This pompholyx eczema is killing me!”

“Another roach in the apartment? I can’t live like this!”

“If the Seahawks take me out of my Pick-A-Winner football pool another year I’m going to murder Eddie Vedder! [Who is not, in fact, a Seattle native. But this is an easy way to get under the skin of my beloved, a dyed-in-the-wool Pearl Jam fan]”

Under more conventional circumstances, I accept my theatrical ways and allow myself a free pass to over emote in speech, well aware that my nearest and dearest understand when to parse actionable intelligence. But lately, people I love and respect have been grappling with way too much illness and death. I don’t wish to compound their anguish with careless expressions.

Within the last fortnight my boss has buried her father, my brother-in-law has lost a beloved uncle and my romantic partner is currently bereaved of his maternal grandmother, the last living elder on either side of his clan. No matter their respective beliefs on the afterlife, or the level of gratitude experienced by an end of suffering, the people I care about are hurting. The early stages of grief have little patience with rationality and big picture thinking. And as helpless as I feel at times to alleviate their collective distress, watching my mouth seems like an easy cherry to pick.

And that’s all I need to say about that.

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