Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Memoriam

I'm sure that every Goth has, at some point in their life, gotten the requisite snide comment from a random jerky stranger: "What's with all the black? You going to a funeral or something?" Normally, when confronted with such silliness, I have a pat reply of "Nah, I'm just in mourning for your sense of style." But, actually do have to go to a funeral. And all the pat replies in the world fly right out of your head, and you're left staring blankly into a closet full of black clothes, wondering if you have anything you actually can wear to a funeral.

I've never been averse to funerals. Growing up in a church and a community which both have a lot of elderly people in them, death has always been a part of my life, and my parents never believed in "protecting" my brother and I from the concept of dying. I've gone to funerals for a lot of people I love over the years, but, with one exception, they've all been older people-some in their 60s, some in their 90s. There was, of course, always sadness that someone was gone-but there was acknowledgement of a life fully lived, an end to suffering and pain, of going to be with God and a beloved but long-deceased spouse. I always found the funerals comforting. Not today. Today, none of the things we tell ourselves to make it feel better when someone older dies of natural causes could be said, because it was an 18-year-old boy who was killed accidentally and abruptly, and nothing can make that feel better.

Goths, as a subculture, tend to embrace death. We adorn ourselves with memento mori, laugh at silly little skulls with hairbows, and have tea in graveyards. But that doesn't make it any easier to deal with the cold, hard reality of having someone good and kind abruptly taken from us; of having to see their family so lost and hurt, and not being able to do anything to make it better. When people ask me why I'm dressed up to the nines, what I'm celebrating, I usually tell them "Life! Every day is precious and an occasion!" I just don't often pause to think that it's really true. I say things like "Life is too short to wear boring socks", but I don't like being reminded that sometimes, life really is too short. I know that there will come other funerals, and I will have to pick out other clothes; but I pray that I will never have to go to one for someone so young again. And maybe next time I go to the graveyard to have tea, I'll stop for a moment and say a prayer for all those who ended up there before they ever have a chance to really live, and give my thanks to God for the simple blessing of being alive.

R.I. P. Stetson Lockhart, December 17 1992-June 17 2011.


  1. I'm sorry to hear this sad news. :( You turned it into a very thought-provoking post; one that should give us all pause to remember that we really should be living life to the fullest each moment. You are so right; that usually becomes just a cliche phrase and is far more often spoken than it is actually lived!!

  2. what a lovely statement. you and your point of view are inspiring.