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And are looking for the third to complete the set of Rodney Dangerfield and Christopher Reeve:

You know what? People die. They die all the time. If you want to look around and group them into threes, or sevens, or thirteens, or thirties, you can. Because death is a part of life; everyone eventually ends up at the last way station. Those of you looking for a third, or a thirteenth, or a thirtieth, will find the dead person to complete your set because people die. There's also thousands of other deaths that go completely unnoticed during the same time period. There's the 1,100 American soldiers in Iraq. There's the 40,000 civilians in Iraq. Why don't any of those thousands of deaths count in your sets of threes? Does it only count if it's someone famous, and all the "little people" who die every day don't count? Most of those "little people"s deaths count a hell of a lot to the people that knew them and loved them.

Right now I'm seriously considering declaring my mother dead to me. I don't want to deprive my daughter of her grandmother, but right now I'm mourning. My mother is supposed to be my cheerleader, not skeptical about what I can and can't accomplish -- and that part of her is gone. Choosing either alternative above won't solve the problem, but I've spent the last 24 hours in tears a big percentage of the time.

And not once was it for Rodney Dangerfield or Christopher Reeve. I said "Aw, that's too bad" when I heard about Reeve; I didn't know he was ill.

If you're Wiccan, or Pagan, or inclined that direction, Death is a part of Life. There is no room for new life if death doesn't clear the way. And it's fall, harvest time, the time when the grain is harvested and food put away for the winter before we had the eternal summer of modern conveniences.

People die. They keep dying. You can group them in whatever number sets you like; they're going to continue to die. It's a part of life, folks. Instead of trying to demystify it by stating that it "comes in threes" and so there's one more to go, demystify it this way: Death happens to everyone. We're all on a terminal ride. Our job is to take the ride the best we can, so that when it's our time we can go with satisfaction and curiousity as to what the next step will bring.

Death doesn't happen in sets, it happens all the time. All. The. Time. You can't predict who will be next; you can probably tell if a loved one is ill enough to be near the top of the list, but we don't get to predict death. We can't control it. We can't even force it to come in threes.

So mourn the lives that impacted you, and know there's going to be another one coming down the bend. And stop trying to put the inexplicable into sets in an attempt to understand it. The inexplicable has a way of upsetting your neat little system if you work at it too hard.

What the heck. I'm even making this one public.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2004 01:06 am (UTC)
Hey. Just so you know? People in my family do die in threes. Predictably. Like clockwork. Regardless of the cause.

My maternal grandfather, my paternal grandmother, my third cousin=I was five, all the same year.

My uncle Jerry, my uncle Jim, my aunt Olga=I was 24, all the same year.

My uncle, my mother, my aunt Betty=all in the space of a year, last year.

We drop off in threes. I don't know if it's the mystery of the universe and it didn't start happening when I went pagan. I know there's a lot of other deaths, too. I don't so much look for the 'rule of three' outside my family. I just know that in my family, we tend to live until we drop like flies, all at once, and almost always in groups of three.

That's all; just had to point that out.

And I didn't know Reeve had died. Hmm. Thought he was doing better.
Oct. 11th, 2004 07:18 am (UTC)
My family has always died in discrete units of one, several years apart. So I see no such pattern in the wider world either, I guess.

Reeve got a systemic infection from a pressure wound (not uncommon when an individual is paralyzed) and slipped into a coma on Saturday. At least it was an easy death; there hasn't been much easy for him since the riding accident.
Oct. 11th, 2004 02:07 pm (UTC)
Okay. I mean, I didn't mean to jump on you, it's just that...for the most part I ignore it when people say they're waiting for the third or whatever...unless someone's talking about my family, in which case we all batten down and ride it out, 'cos it hasn't not happened yet.

In fact, until my aunt died, I was rather concerned the third was going to be me--I wasn't feeling all that well, you see.

Yeah, that's a fate one of my uncles narrowly avoided for years, until one finally got him. Having had a quadriplegic in the family for many years, I expected something like this, but I was hoping it wouldn't happen. *shrugs*
Oct. 11th, 2004 03:41 am (UTC)
I didn't know Christopher Reeve had passed.

Death is one of those things that we all have to accept. If only because it's gonna get all of us one day. (with any luck both my friends AND my enemies will throw a large party when I kick.)

I realize it's completely innapropriate, but a line from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Advernture comes to mind: "Dust. Wind. Dude." (Charecter is explaining philosophy to Socrates)

One of the problems with having grown up in the Abrahamic descended religious structures is that it is ussually lacking in coping mechanisms to deal with really obvious stuff- Sex, death, loss, birth, joy, sorrow and lots of other biggies- The clergy of those faiths always seem to act surprised.
This always struck me as either incompetence or deciet among the Priest class.

One of the reasons a lot of us became pagans was to find/create something that answered some of those questions to our satisfaction.- at least we say that we believe all of that stuff about death and the circle of life. Some of it we have to actually develop as we go- hoping that the folks a generation or two from now will have an easier time of things...

As to death knocking the hell out of ordered systems.. Errr, ahh, any system that doesn't allow for death- as an example- has a very wide margin of error and may not be usable for navigation purposes.
That said, I fucking hate it when people I know die. No more conversations with them, no more shared jokes, no more chances to either reedeem yourself for being a butthead or let them do the same (Common with relatives). This is purely selfishness on my part, but, I can live with myself and that particular philosophic conundrum.

I keep thinking that I need to write something about death, gods know I've spent enough time thinking about it, and I think a lot of folks know there is a need to evolve some currently relevant coping mechanisms, but I keep feeling that it's somehow innapropriate to talk about it.

Oct. 11th, 2004 07:15 am (UTC)
That's part of the problem, and why I posted what could be conceived of as a cruel and heartless post publicly instead of behind my usual filter. I think we look for patterns where there aren't any for some small bit of reassurance that we actually know how things are going. I just -- argh. We're heading into Scorpio and Samhain and things die, whether they want them to or not.
Oct. 12th, 2004 12:47 am (UTC)
Generally speaking, there are few circumstances where it is acceptable to want something to die.
Even if you cause the death, you are supposed to regret it- goes for home defense, cops in shootouts, soldiers. Society says you aren't supposed to want anything to die.

on the original topic:
Happened to hear today that the photographer Richard Avedon died this week. Is that an acceptable "third shoe"?

Seeking a pattern does attempt to impose control on unconnected phenomena.
Consider the criteria: Three people that most people have heard of.
Sounds more like an externally imposed thing- some newspaper editor must have decided that the public can only cope with about three celebrity fatalities in a given news cycle or something.
Oct. 11th, 2004 06:45 am (UTC)
From my journal:

(Or, as I put it, "People die in threes, alright.  Three thousands.  Per undefined time unit.")
Oct. 11th, 2004 07:18 am (UTC)
Yep, exactly.
Oct. 11th, 2004 07:23 am (UTC)
I just haven't been tuning in
I didn't know Christopher Reeve was dead. He was one of my "heroes" in this odd-y-sey of adjustment.

But I think it is a matter of find the pattern, find the control. We look for--and find--patterns everywhere. The constellations. I know people who will not make a move without "consulting the stars" I think this is as silly as consulting animal entrails or splitting a dandelion to read its stem. But it is a pattern enforced on an otherwise in-conceivable and chaotic place.

And death is as inconceivable and as unknown as we get--so therefore if we can group the deaths, we feel better.

I am sorry about your mother--sounds like a rought situation. It is hard when parents aren't "there" like they are supposed to be. I keep denying the deaths of my parents--the times I was in the hospital and they were too busy to come by and get me. Or the sniping about my weight, or my job. I have learned to curtail it a bit. I have also learned to seek family in other places.

Oct. 11th, 2004 07:34 am (UTC)
A quote I'm fond of:

"There is but one freedom, to put oneself right with death. After that everything is possible. I cannot force you to believe in God. Believing in God amounts to coming to terms with death. When you have accepted death, the problem of God will be solved--and not the reverse."

(source unknown)
Oct. 11th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC)
Heh, my friend smelledthcoffee and I were ranting about just that last night, after we heard of Reeve's death.
Oct. 11th, 2004 07:48 am (UTC)
As I am an eclectic Pagan who also follows Zen (badly, at times) I can better accept death than many. I was saddened when my grandmother passed last month, but mostly because I hadn't seen her in 30 years and had had ample opportunity to do so.

As I posted in a friend's journal about Reeve, 'It's perhaps better for him. Where he is now, there are no limitations.' I haven't quite sorted out what the afterlife is like for myself, but sometimes I do think that those who have moved on are the lucky ones.

Meanwhile, all I can do is my best to live a good life, rather than wait for the inevitable.
Oct. 11th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC)
I didn't know
I hadn't heard about Chris Reeve. He was important to me because he challenged what was "possible" for neural damage recovery and won. Doctors had to keep saying, "Yes, we said this was impossible, and we were wrong." He redefined how much a seriously injured person could be expected to benefit from treatment, and therefore gave many neuro-damaged people access to more treatment. He was a very brave man, a man who knew that we DON'T understand things, we DON'T have the answers, so believing in the "impossible" is no less reasonable than believing in the limitations. I am sorry an end has come to that adventure, for purely selfish reasons. I wish the man good rest and good journey. I don't say he's in a better place. I don't know. It doesn't matter what I believe. What is, is.

The human mind is built to give form to the formless. Wicca, for me, is the study of stripping away judgments and beliefs, rather than forming them. It's realizing that all my understanding is really superstition, and learning to form beliefs in a way that is useful while, at the same time, holding them as theories rather than facts. "Deaths in threes" is no more ludicrous a concept than "Mexicans are lazy" or "No means no!" or "My name is Clarsa". They're all pretty arbitrary when it comes right down to it.

As for killing your mother (reality is subjective, therefore, if she is dead to you by an act of your will, you have killed her), I'd be for doing it temporarily. But forever is such a long time. My mother's father said good-bye to his four daughters when he remarried. He died in-the-body thirty years later. I think they hurt over it in some way (Mom's youngest sister said she stopped hurting long ago; she was just angry. But I think that's a form of pain) every day of those thirty years.

You might try some magick; call her Higher Self into your meditative space and tell her what you need to tell her. Make her hear you. Sure, there's a lot of maya between you, but maybe you can see her as a faulty person instead of as a mother, free yourself of some expectations. Or not. Whatever is growthful for you at this point in your journey.

I'm just sayin', locking in a "forever" seems a little pre-mature to me. Reality closes enough doors. I've learned to stop inventing absolutes; it doesn't work out well for me.
Oct. 11th, 2004 09:12 am (UTC)
Re: I didn't know
(Not in reference to Arwen's post or any other specific thing, but just purely in general)

{I'm just sayin', locking in a "forever" seems a little pre-mature to me. Reality closes enough doors. I've learned to stop inventing absolutes; it doesn't work out well for me.}

Those are some of the wisest words I have seen or heard in a long time. Thank you for them.

Personally, I see no beauty in death. I see no rightness in death. I've never found any lasting peace with it whatsoever. I find no comfort in the wheel of the seasons. I've never learned to see that as anything more than half the year sucking. Perhaps in time that will change. I have not stopped seeking a better perspective. (Nor have I stopped seeking a way to have a second home that is warm and green and alive in this time of year - heh.) But in the meantime, I see the ugliness of death as all the more reason to make the most I can of life. And perhaps, in that light, death does indeed have its place - as a "fell muse", an anti-example, as the greatest of motivators to live well.
Oct. 11th, 2004 09:48 am (UTC)
Re: I didn't know
Errr, my post? :scratches head: I didn't post in this. Clarsa is SO not Arwen. :-)
Oct. 11th, 2004 10:21 am (UTC)
Re: I didn't know
Me got confoosed - thought it was your journal I was replying in. But I see that it is Alia's. Muddleheaded kinda day for me. Apologies..
Oct. 11th, 2004 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: I didn't know
Hee! Not to worry, handsome man. :-) I realized that afterwards. If I'd been thinking, I would have gotten it. Love ya!
Oct. 11th, 2004 09:50 am (UTC)
I love that we can all have differing opinions. I do think that famous folk die in threes. Just something I've noted in my own path. Works for me. YMMV.
Oct. 11th, 2004 10:28 am (UTC)
Janet Leigh also died recently.
Oct. 12th, 2004 05:24 pm (UTC)
My mother has been gone to me since 25 Aug 1994. We hope her body dies in the next month. It will be a release we all need.

My mother was on the skeptical side for me, but for my sister, she equalled your mother. I am trying to make sure that Carol never feels that from me, and to be for her what she needed and did not get from our mom.

I did speak to someone in a pharmacy line whose life had been directly affected by Chris Reeve's work--she was walking because of what he'd worked for.
Oct. 13th, 2004 04:02 pm (UTC)
People die?


even kittens...?

What about small rocks?



I have found that laughing at tragedy keeps me from climbing towers with a high powered rifle. Well, that and I am too lazy to climb all the stairs.

Good luck with your mom

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )