Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Overcoats of Clay

Emily Dickinson wrote that when a person dies, the spirit lays off an overcoat of clay. A friend died on Friday morning before work. He was 30 years old, with a wife and two baby girls he loved very much. Tomorrow I'm meeting mutual friends and we'll go together to the funeral--my second funeral in Switzerland. Sharing in funerals here, like sharing in weddings and babies being born, knits me into Switzerland a little bit more. Strange to think that our lives were tooootally separate a couple years ago; we didn't have a place or a person in common. And now here I am, staring out the window instead of working, wondering how his wife will manage, and looking at the new baby at church and wishing his sweet daughters would remember how much they meant to him. Thinking about friends and acquaintances who were much closer to him than I was. Some losses seem so untimely and unreasonable. I know people are resilient and do recover, at least in a sense, from grief over death. But I don't know how recovery happens, really. Life doesn't go go back to the way it was, and we always miss people we love for the rest of our lives once they're gone (or at least, I miss a lot of people so far!) Why does comfort work at all? I think that's very curious. But I pray his family and friends will find comfort anyway.

Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.
"Dissolve" says Death—The Spirit "Sir
I have another Trust"—

Death doubts it—Argues from the Ground—
The Spirit turns away
Just laying off for evidence
An Overcoat of Clay.

-Emily Dickinson

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