Since this time yesterday I have taken three four-hour naps and even this small amount of time and sleep has insulated me ever so slightly from the rawness of the image of Jackson's lifeless body--still one of the most deeply puzzling things for me to see, even after having seen so many others. And having known him for so long it did not seem right to leave him there but I had already accompanied him as far as I could and that was the most difficult leave I have taken in a long time. This never gets easier, but in a way I still wish that we in our culture did not insulate ourselves so much from death as a general rule, because it is the most intractible fact of life and acting as though it is an unpleasant secret is not helpful in preparing anyone to deal with it. I have been fortunate to have walked right up to it thousands of times with a cat or dog in my arms because even though it has afforded me almost no empirical knowledge it has made it very clear to me that we are all related in death as well as in life and that compassion is absolutely necessary given our mutual vulnerability. Acknowledging that vulnerability is almost un-American and I think that is at least partially why our culture is so unforgiving of individual failings and unwilling to make of generosity an institution.
I have talked to several different people today which in itself makes it an extraordinary day and I appreciate everyone's thoughts and am glad that Jackson has so many helping him on his last journey into the heart of the universe. I have read a little online about pet loss and even took a survey for someone's research project where I found questions about "God" irrelevant and almost comical because although they included non-theistic spiritual traditions in the question asking about which one I might follow, almost all of the questions pertaining to spiritual beliefs centered on this "God" person with whom I have no acquaintance whatsoever at times like this. And the rest of the time s/he is mostly an unwelcome leftover ghost of things I was taught when I was little. I hope to be an eccentric data point for the study just as I strive to be one in general day-to-day life.
But what I mean to say is thanks for your willingness to bear this with me and if you don't mind staying on for a few, I would be most grateful.
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