We are storytelling creatures, we humans. Our sentience notices our mortality and mixes with our fear and so we tell ourselves lots of stories about death.
We tell ourselves that the unjust are eternally punished in either darkness or flame. This is especially popular if the unjust are beyond our reach in this life.
Even more important: to stave off our personal dread of the trip each of us must take alone to Hamlet’s undiscovered country, or to console ourselves that the parting we now make with a loved one is not final, we tell stories about a Valhalla or a Heaven, where we and those we love will yet live and enjoy peace and plenty.
When a beloved pet dies, we may tell ourselves a story about how our furry family member has crossed Rainbow Bridge.
As a storyteller, I could probably come up with something good along these lines. But my stories would be no less wish fulfillment than these others. I am increasingly convinced that the only stories to be told at such a time, the only true stories, are those the mourners hold in still-living memory.
Today, I mourn, and I think this is no time for other stories or for the flights of fancy I create.
The more-than-year-long run of one new piece of fiction a week ends here. Grim, tearful reality now rules as we grieve for a wonderful little dog we knew for almost two years. Perhaps there will be more to say about this later; perhaps the stories I hold of him will work their way into other stories that will then be more true because of the sharing. And perhaps we’ll get back on track next week. For now…
how empty the yard
without him –
our well-loved Archie