Posts

Showing posts from June, 2018

When Someone You Love Dies: Notes for the Living

Image
I never gave a lot of thought to death until my mother died unexpectedly two months ago.  Now, I think about it all the time.

Until confronted by it ourselves, we tend to ignore death and grief.  For something that is all around us, all the time, it seems invisible ---  right up until we become the ones blindsided by the news of the death of someone in our intimate circle -- parents, spouses, children, siblings, close friends.  My friend Erik said to me, "As the Greeks say, eventually, time and tragedy come for all of us."  Truth.

 I am in the process of writing down some thoughts. Here is a list of things that, in retrospect, I wish I could have articulated to people in the wake of my mom's death about how to help and what they could anticipate from me.  There is no order and this list might not help you. 

But I hope it helps.  If you are grieving, I send comfort and love.  If you want to help someone who is grieving, I send comfort and love.


To My People: I am Grievin…

June 9 - the Feast of Saint Columba

Image
The celebrations of Saint Columba in Derry City represent one of my favorite examples of what Eric Hobsawm and Terence Ranger named "an invented tradition."  In 1897,  the Catholic residents of Derry began a tradition of honoring their patron saint publicly in the streets of the city, as well as in its Catholic chapels.

Here is an excerpt from my manuscript about the process, and reasons, for doing so.

The celebrations of the thirteen hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Columba scheduled to be held in Gartan, Donegal, provided the catalyst for Long Tower's Father Willie Doherty to expand his vision of Derry as a city inspired by Columba and to invite the city’s Catholic population to join together to show religious reverance and pride for their cultural heritage. Father Willie served as a conduit, providing the stimulus and organization that enabled local Catholics to express publicly a broader Irish community identity in a way that was respectable, even pious. In…