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Jun. 29th, 2001

Keith died this morning.

Yeah. That was my reaction, too. "What? What's going on? How? When? Why"
Still don't know much. Just that apparently he died in his sleep - and we don't know how. Nadia and I were pseudo-babysitting Amy Barrington's party all morning - we got a call from Dylan, her brother, telling us that Keith's mum had called their house, hysterical and saying that Keith was dead.

Our first reaction was confusion - we couldn't leave, as we were in charge and supervising, and so we sat there for hours, wondering what the hell was going on. Finally Amy's brother, Dave, came back and we left - we went to Kristine's, where everyone seemed to be gathering, but her and Rissa had gone to the school to get their report cards so we went up there. We didn't find them, but Nadia was in tears continuously and kept grabbing anyone who might have known Keith even tangentially and telling them. I didn't know what to say - so I didn't say anything. We got our report cards and went back to Kristine's - everyone was there then, and everyone started hugging everyone else.

Damn, but that was uncomfortable. I didn't say anything then, really, either, except for cracking a few bad jokes. They wanted to go for ice cream. I was reluctant - the idea of associating ice cream with something solemn and sad like this bothered me - but I went anyway. At Dairy Queen, everyone pretty much just sat around looking solemn and sad, and Nadia continued to look weepy and sad. I eventually excused myself - we're supposed to go to an end-of-the-year French Immersion party tonight... I don't think Nadia is going to go, still.

So now we come to the part that bothers me, as this is obviously not an entry spurred on by pleasant feelings. The other reason I excused myself - the one I couldn't share with my friends - was that I was growing more and more angry by the moment.

I know how that sounds - but the tradition of sitting around weeping and being depressed and solemn when someone dies has always annoyed me. Just like I consider funerals a morbid and downright icky ritual. I almost feel bad for reacting the way I do - I don't cry for things like this. I've lost enough friends to know that if you spend yourself completely in tears and grief and "proper" comportation when you lose someone, you eventually run out of the energy, run out of the emotional depth to do that anymore. You become incapable of reacting, of crying, of feeling much of anything. Maybe it's unhealthy that I reached that point a long time ago - but I don't see things like this through an emotional eye, which is strange, because I react so emotionally to so many other things more trivial and less deserving of the attention. But if I did like Nadia - sitting near-catatonic in a corner, staring heartbrokenly and absently into space, crying for hours at a time and lashing out at everything and everyone who tried to tell me it *wasn't* the end of the world, that *he* wouldn't have wanted her to cry, that it will feel, in time, if not better, then at least softer... I'd be a puddle. But she doesn't want to hear those things - I get the impression that none of my mundane friends have ever lost anyone close to them before - a grandparent, an old relative, someone long-distance, perhaps, but not someone they were close to, someone near their age who they'd seen recently. Keith took us to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival and bowling at the Commodore only recently - less than a week ago. They're not used to this kind of proximity to death - they're unaccustomed, and have the accustomed reactions to death of young children. Cry and weep and hurt and someone will come and make it better. At least, that's how it seems from my point of view. I've learned that lesson. I *have* lost friends before - more than I'd care to think about. I hate the idea that I might be getting used to it, but...

I think I've got a better method than they do - maybe Nadia's right and I'm just reppresive; she probably is - but at least my method doesn't involve giving up a little part of *my* life in memory of someone who's gone. It's *not* the end of the world, and I know that. So does he, I suspect. It might also be tied to their religion - Paganism, Wiccanism and Druidism; all these teach that Death is just a natural part of Life. It's a force of Nature, not something to be angered by, or mourned over, or shocked by. It just *is*... and there's nothing you can do to change it. Least of all by ceasing to live your own life in sympathy for someone else. All said, *we're* the ones that are still alive, and the most important thing we owe to Keith is to go on living as well as we can. Ceasing to live like the mainstreamers teach is an offense to the dead - a waste. It makes no sense to me. In fact, it makes me a little angry. Which is perhaps why I lost my temper with Nadia this afternoon.

She was withdrawn all afternoon after we found out - speaking in a whisper, acting broken and childish and quiet, and holding onto her temper by a very thin thread. I can't say as I did much better than she did - *my* hold on my emotions is tenuous at the best of times. But maintaining the balance at a time like this, when something so large has upset it, is difficult. I was doing fairly well until Nadia... well, I probably provoked her on some levels. It was over something so trivial - for he Immersion party we're supposed to bring sleeping bags and tents - Nadia had the only tent. I went to get her and she hadn't found it, didn't have it. She was speaking so quietly I couldn't hear her. When I did, I asked her why - that was the first admittedly insensitive thing I did today. I didn't see how tottering she was, and when I asked her why she didn't even bother to look for it, since Joanna and I didn't have tents and were depending on her, she blew up at me.

I do, I really do appreciate that grief is a personal thing, that everyone has to deal with things in their own way - but my own way matters too, doesn't it? And none of them, I think, have any right to judge *me* and whether *my* ways are as worthy as theirs. After all, I may violently disagree with their ways, but I'm not shouting at them for them. Well, barring that one time with Nadia... o.O

Keith, Kristine and I were going to go to Victoria for Canada Day on Sunday. Now, Kristine doesn't want to go. I still do. She looked askance at me when I said that - and I got angry, though I didn't say anything that time. Damn. I happen to know for a fact that Keith would have wanted us to go anyway - maybe plant a flag for him at the Parliment Buildings. I think there's very few people who would want everyone they left behind to be miserable forever. I know I don't. In fact, I hereby forbid anyone who gives a damn about me to be miserable or to change plans they'd been making for weeks and were really looking forward to just for the sake of some brainless, mundane-mandated "period of mourning" or whatever the hell they think they're doing. Damnit, anyway. I think I might go anyway. All alone, if necessary. Call it a pilgrimage.

Sigh. Damn him, anyway. I had this nice running high I was riding on from Grad - I've actually been close to *happy* these last few weeks, for the first time in close to four years, for the first time since ... died. It would just figure that just when I had some nice balance going, something would happen to throw it off. Damnit. At least this time I know it wasn't my fault. Right?

Hell; if I didn't know any better, I'd think he died just to spite me. ;)

They all think I'm being selfish and cold - maybe I am - but this whole wrap-yourself-in-cotton, dress-in-black, hide-in-the-dark-and-cry and remember-you're-not-allowed-to-have-fun-or-be-happy because remember, you're-the-lucky-one-you're-still-alive-it-could-have-been-you, survivor's guilt thing didn't make any sense when I was four and Nanny died, and it doesn't make sense now. I hardly think it shows gratitude to go around acting like you have nothing left to live for. Even *I* know better than that. Their way; it says that you grieve the dead, mourn their deaths, show solemn respect by abstaining from things - from happiness, from joy, from glee, from fun, from loud noises and laughter and dancing and life - for a usually technically indeterminate period of time. My way - it says that you celebrate the life, not the death - that you rejoice in the life of the person you loved and the beauties they were a part of. Show gratitude for being alive by *living your life* to its utmost. Party. Sing. Dance. Laugh and be happy that you knew them, not sad that you lost them. It just makes more sense to me. I had the argument all worked out in my head - that they're entitled to their way - but *I* think their way is useless, at least to me. And if I don't do it *my* way, it's meaningless.

Erg. I think it's late enough that I'm flubbing simple words. I'm getting tea.

They wanted to do something for him - but I'm not sure what I could do that would satisfy everyone. Kristine, Nadia, Rissa, Samantha - they're all really rather Christian. And Kristine has this unfortunate habit of "politely" nitpicking whenever I do anything even remotely Wiccan - she disapproves, you see. (And *that* is another reason I'm not going to the funeral, should there be one.) I already decided we should plant a tree for him. But Keith was a Druid. I have to find something ceremonial and suitable for this. Maybe a cairn?

Damn, but this is getting complicated. I am so tired.

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Chandri MacLeod
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