This is a mishmash of thoughts on interacting with, respecting, and remembering the dead. Partially inspired by a death in my life, partly by my strong reaction to the phrase “rest in power,” and partly by halloween, the best of all recognized holidays.
The death in my life has me pondering ways that people are remembered, which will never be correct (or sufficiently whole). Memory is biased at the best of times, and death is the ultimate opportunity to hold on to what already best fits our understanding about someone. Death means that they will never again surprise us, or exceed our understanding of them. Or, that’s the worst case scenario. Talking to other people about someone who is dead can still surprise us, i guess.
Rest in power pisses me off because it seems to be insisting that people must remain in these bullshit struggles even after they’re dead. To me the “power” contradicts and overwhelms the “rest” in the phrase.
Finally, but related to the above, do you want to be around after death? Do you want people to hold seances and call on you? Do you want to chat with your people after they’ve shuffled off, walked on? What is important about death, in your relationships with specific people? How do people become *more* present once they can never be around again?
What is an appropriate (to you) relationship to the dead?