Everything we enter into will end. In relationships, romantic or otherwise, I have worked out that there are only six endings. This is the existential truth of all of our lives. Every relationship we enter into will end. There are no happy Hollywood endings; there are merely endings. Deaths. Saying goodbye. I have tried to wrack my brain thinking of other mathematical equations or scenarios. But I have only found six. So, here are they are:
We perish together
You dump me
I dump you
We mutually end our relationship (rare, but possible)
How then do we live our lives fully, knowing that everything we begin will end? There is some comfort in knowing, in this universality of experience, that we need to carpe diem the shit out of our lives and our relationships. We need to love with reckless abandon, knowing we will lose it all eventually. It is incumbent on us to do so, for we recognize the preciousness of life. And the peril.
In light of our collective grief from the Ghost Ship fire, I have been steeped in our community's suffering. How do we bear the unbearable suffering of the friends and families of those young victims? This existential truth, that each relationship we begin will end, holds no solace in the face of this enormous grief. I do not offer this here as comfort, but merely to acknowledge the pain of our community.
I went to the Lake Merritt vigil three nights after the tragedy and I watched how a professional LA Times photographer snapped shots of the grieving parents and I wept. What a media mockery in the face of these parents' pain. I wanted reverence. I wanted to hold these family members' pain, but knew I couldn't. I was disgusted by the media blitz. I tried to keep my heart open to the pain at the vigil. Mostly everyone was numb. Some were weeping. Some were wailing. It was comforting to hug strangers and to know, for that instance, we were not alone.
No existential analysis can wipe free the attachments of the human heart. We are all in mourning. Although I did not know anyone personally at the Ghost Ship, I have heard countless people in my office this past week recount stories of horror and grief.
Yes, there are only six endings. A universal truth, but not a truth that is easy to bear as we mourn the loss of these 36 vibrant, young artists, social justice activists, students and lovers.
photo credit: Donna Insalaco