A lot of people in the United States don’t like to talk about death. There may be a fascination with the blood and gore, or the tragedy of those who are left behind, but death is so . . . personal. Even when you have friends and family around you, and/or anticipate being met on the “other side” by someone or Someone, how you approach death is colored by what you have been told, and how you interpret that information. Each death we hear about has the potential to open that door into how we feel about death, and that may make us uneasy.
When we read about the death of Osama bin Laden, our initial reaction was probably emotional. That is personal, too, though it will be affected by our nationality, our culture, our spiritual beliefs, our personal history, our family history, and a host of other factors. Other reactions and questions will follow (as is normal with death), but right now I want to look at the emotional ones. I have heard, read, and/or watched people express relief, joy, anger, dismay, confusion, indignation, fear, disgust, disappointment, pride, superiority, righteousness, and sorrow. Am sure there were other emotions too fleeting for me to identify or that I missed. Some of these emotions were in reaction to the news of his death, and some were responses to the reactions of other people.
My first reaction was relief, because I hoped it would mean less danger for the member of my family who is in the military. But then a bit of fear entered the picture, because now they are on high alert (because of the possibility of retaliation). I also found myself thinking of all the karma bin Laden has stored up to deal with, and I feel sorrow for his Soul (not for him, but for the Higher part of himself that now has to deal with all this s***).
I wish everyone could just feel their emotions surrounding this event, and not feel the need to convince others to feel the same way. Emotions are personal — you don’t need to justify them or have others feel them for them to be valid for you. What you DO with your emotions can be tricky; you have the right to feel them, but not the right to impose them on others without their consent. You also have the right to ignore how this event makes you feel.
* “Share how that makes you feel” is one of my favorite lines spoken by Sarah Jessica Parker in the movie “L.A. Story.”