Jude passed away yesterday.
I'm sad to see him go, yet glad he is free now.
This morning I went to my favourite local garden centre to pick up a few plants that Jude is going to become: We will bury him under a bed of flowers, in time his body will nourish the soil and Jude will become a flower himself.
A lovely lady at the garden centre offered to help, she must have noticed my slightly lost gaze as I was trying to find a plant to represent my blue-green fish-friend. She asked what I was looking for, I told her briefly that Jude lived with us for over two years and I'd like to keep him in my garden as a memory. "Lovely idea," she said. "Yeah," I thought to myself...
The next thing that came out of her mouth startled me: "Are you going to get another one?"
Hmmm, I heard that one before, many times actually, from well-meaning but ill-informed people asking about us having another baby. You've got to be kidding me! This illusion of replacement is Universal! They don't just try to replace my baby to fix her death, they are trying to replace anything that dies. But you can't walk into the same river twice.
"No", I said, "I'm not."
Somehow the lady seemed surprised and puzzled by my answer.
Even in death Jude keeps giving me clues to point my mind in the right direction. Our culture lacks grief awareness at the most basic level, misguidedly attempts to fix what cannot be changed, then gets bored with the whole process and moves on to brighter thoughts.
To help the bereaved we need to start with the basics. We need to accept that death cannot be fixed, changed, or avoided. It commands our respect and attention. Death is not a loss, it's an irreversible change of state.
Thank you, Jude.