November 3rd, 2013



Martin and I are almost done with The West Wing. We have only 4 more episodes left and we just watched Matt Santos win the Presidential election and Leo McGarry die. I confess to having had tears in my eyes. Martin did, too. I never saw most of the episodes from season 7 that we are watching now, but I remember feeling sad then when I heard the news that John Spencer, the actor that played Leo, had actually passed away, unlike the actress that played Dolores Landingham, who only died in character. We were sad about her, too.

I had never seen John Spencer in anything else, that I can think of, so it wasn't him I was sad about, so was the character of Leo McGarry whom we had grown to love on the show that made me sad. But I can tear up at McDonald's commercials, so don't read anything too much into it.

There are lots of people I don't know who have caused me to grieve at their passing. Writers, actors, artists, scientists, famous people, ice skaters even. And friends of friends. I may not even know them, but hearing how their lives and their acts touched someone I know or care about, teaches me how easy it is to grieve for someone I never had a chance to meet, and never will.

It's been awhile since I attended a funeral. There have been a couple here in Sweden that we've been to, for people I was affected by in some way: the wife of a friend, the girlfriend of one of my husband's relatives, a friend of mine. And even longer since the funeral was for someone in my family. My paternal grandmother. My maternal grandfather. My dad.

Sometimes I find myself sort of mentally preparing for the next one. What will I do? How will I react? What will I say to comfort will I tell the kids? It's not something I particularly want to give mental space to, but for some reason my brain seems to think I need that extra time in advance to deal with the reality when it finally happens. I think about dying a lot, actually. I don't talk about it, though. Hardly ever. It makes people so uncomfortable...hell, it makes ME uncomfortable, too. But I suspect I'm not alone. I suspect we all have ways to deal with the grieving process in advance, even if just in some small way. Some way to make a start on making sense of things that don't make any sense, that in fact, defy sense and only allow feeling.

Most days I think the best way to prepare for the grieving process is by living each moment as if it were my last. By living each moment as if it were YOUR last, and her last and his last. It doesn't always make a difference in what I say and what I do, but it should. It makes me stop and think about the connections we make, the connections we have, the time that is passing and the simple fact that we shouldn't waste any of it.