We Mourn Like Elephants

As you no doubt are aware, Elephants grieve. They stand by their loved ones and shed tears. They bury them, even recognize the bones of friends and family; and even can pick out their loved one’s skull from a group of others. They stay by the bodies or come to visit loved ones after death. Like something calls them maybe? Who knows. But they are fascinating.

When one animal dies, they will each need to assess how their social group has changed and how to re-evaluate themselves within this new hierarchy. The whole dynamic changes, and they need to know where they fit in within the crowd.
Read more: DailyMail | Elephants Really Grieve Like Us

I, of course, know something of how you felt after Grandma’s death. That decade after, when you were coming to grips with her loss, as well as the realignment of our universe her death had brought. Not entirely, though, since I see now that her death helped me to deal with yours.

I saw, even with your black, sobbing loss, you eventually take the reins and did the best you could.

That’s what I’m doing now I suppose, 3 years on since Tim died, I’m re-evaluating.

Don’t worry, you know Mom, I’ve got you all sorted (well, more or less).

Tim didn’t have the benefit of your wisdom, and our matriarchal structure. Where grief becomes a passage time, alive with stories, tears and laughing, as memories are shared. Like a re-aligning of the social universe of the family, I always found death to be that way with us.

At his funeral, after when we all stood at his grave, each of us saw the lone gull making lazy circles over our heads. Well, we did, not one person in his families eyes left the grass at our feet.

I have thought since it was like we all grabbed a hold of his kite-string, and moved him over into our patch of sunlight. Rotten rat he could be, even so, we know grief. We know its struggles, its denials, and its realities. Dad and Lex did that for me, to show me he was now part of us, and thus gave me that one less thing to drag behind me as I mourned his loss.

For some reason this month, I have felt this sadness sometimes. Even breaking down a little with my manager, when I mentioned he had died. I haven’t done that since the week after when just having to say “Tim died”, would have me once again a sobbing wreck.

Lately, my gut is saying that everything is going to change, more, and so that time with him is slowly fading, fading, into the background. Like a distant mirage, is that cottage by the lake, almost. Distant. Another me. Another time.

Their society is a very female-based hierarchy, and the loyalty that a herd shows to a matriarch is intensely strong. They will follow her wherever she goes: perhaps that is a manifestation of love of a different sort. [ibid]

Irish on the stoopJust now, out on the stoop, a lone crow circles overhead, cawing to this quiet Sunday village. Dawn is breaking, I suppose he/she is saying. And I must soon get ready for another busy day awaits me.

Yet, I still am pondering my renewed grief, maybe just tis the season? Three years ago we were half way through his aborted radiation/chemo round. These were our days at Thameswood. Maybe that’s it.

The Celts believed that Crow was an omen of death and conflict. She was associated with death transitions. Another belief was that the birds were faeries who shape-shifted to cause troubles. Magickal qualities included bringing knowledge, shape-shifting, eloquence, prophecy, boldness, skill, knowledge, cunning, trickery and thievery.
[ Crow Symbolism ]

Those last three descriptors fit ol’Tim to a ‘t’. He was most definitely cunning, tricky and a bit of a thief. Yet he could also be eloquent, prophetic, bold and he certainly had skill; although he seemed loath to use it for his own good. And, I suppose, in the end, he brought me knowledge… of how to survive this world without being stepped on time and again.

Also, his death, and those four months I spent all alone afterwards, taught me how much I long for solitude sometimes. Embrace it, and today am loath to give away me to anyone who would interfere. Even that guy I met in late summer, you remember? The one who shared Tim’s birthday, well, he is long, long gone…poof…away with you. I highly doubt I’ll hear from him again. Ahem. (never mind, I’m not telling you…let’s just say… well, just never mind)

But maybe that’s where I am this month, back at Thameswood, remembering those last laughing days with him, before he became too sick to feel such joy.

That is the basic difference between the elephants and us, we know sometimes when it is coming. Unfortunately.


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