One is the death of a UU ministerial colleague, the Reverend Georgette Wonders, whom I had never met. Stories of her life and sudden, unexpected death, the sorrow of those who knew and loved her, are flooding my Facebook page. May her family, friends, and congregation find comfort in the relief of her suffering and in companionship, may they find ways to shine her light though her life has ended.
The other is someone I knew in high school. Not well, and at this point in our lives, not at all. He took his own life, which is a very hard thing. Harder still because it was just about a year ago that I found myself writing about another high school peer, someone I did know, who also committed suicide. May his family, friends, colleagues find comfort that he is at peace; may they keep his memory and spirit alive in the stories they tell and re-tell.
Of course, there were many more deaths recently. Famous people. Edmond Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation and one of the last surviving members of the windtalkers. The actor, Mickey Rooney. Jonathan Schell, author of The Fate of the Earth, which haunted my gloom-filled adolescent years with the nightmare of nuclear armageddon.
And not so famous people. People in the town where I live, people in the town where you live, people on the other side of the planet and all locales in-between. Dead.
Not to mention people I love who are in clinical trials to banish cancer from their bodies, people I love who are diminished both in body and mind by dementia, people whom I love who are skirting the edges of psychic pain, tipping too close to the edge.
These are the four noble truths that started off the whole Buddhist adventure.
With their deaths, may these worthy beings have found a path out of their suffering. Sometimes, this is the only comfort we can find in senseless loss.
For those of us still living in dukkha, living in this world with its brilliance and pain, for however much longer, this prayer: