I am a servant of Hermes Psychopompous, Hermes the Soul Guide. I am the Crone. Death is a part of life and it is the part I am responsible for. That doesn't make things any easier when I am called to work.
Death leaves holes. Holes where people used to be, in physical space, in mental space and in our hearts. Places where they should be. Laughter or words you listen for that never comes. Empty spaces, where someone no longer is.
Those holes aren't neat and cauterized. They're raw and bleeding, and they hurt all the time, and more often if you think about them or poke them.
Some people leave great gaping wounds, whose raw edges seem to fade very little. Some people leave smaller holes, easily healed, like a new piercing. But they all hurt and the holes never go away.
And someday, when our hearts are nothing but lace, all holes held together with thread, we go and leave the same holes in another.
Today I got word that a new hole has formed in my life, the third in sixteen months.
An online friend, from the con circuit, opted out of this life, his pain and burdens too large for him.
His family is medically fragile and his name is being held until the family can be told.
We only met once, but we had talked many times online. He was smart, funny and very similar to me in many ways.
We were on a panel and talking about the big drama in any zombie movie, when someone has to put down a zombified loved one.
Everyone blinked when I said it was a very real moment and many of us have to do it in reality. I gave the example of Mom, when we opted to end the minimal treatment she was getting and stop letting her be "alive," so she could move on into death. Millions of people "pull the plug" on their loved ones every day.
My voice cracked as I spoke. And his hand was on my back, steadying me until I could finish my thought.
My friend, may you pass softly.
May you find healing in Mother's Cauldron of Rebirth.
May the burdens you could not carry here vanish in the light of the Summerlands.
May your family and friends be comforted.
May you return to us swiftly, for your work is incomplete.
But dammit. Not a large hole, still a raw one.