I've been thinking about death a lot lately. I know that sounds morbid, but several notable people have died in the past few days, and that, coupled with my new volunteer work facilitating a children's grief support group, has really brought the topic to the forefront of my mind recently. I think that I'm probably not the only one reflecting on death either. The whole Terri Shiavo thing was just so sad and unfortunate, but seemed to really hit a nerve with a lot of folks. I have to say, I sided with Michael Shiavo through the whole thing; as bad for them as I felt, I think her parents were largely in denial about the state of their daughter's condition. In bringing the matter to a number of levels of the judicial system, an awful lot of doctors examined the situation and presented their findings to numerous judges, who all reached the same conclusion - Terri Shiavo was not capable of conscious thought. The sounds and facial expressions that she made were random, and should not have been construed otherwise. This poor woman sat in a hospital bed, tied up in tubes, for how many years? It's just sad.
On the issue of the Pope's death, I find myself a little more torn. On the one hand, I recognize that he was a major spiritual leader for a large percentage of the world's population, on the other hand I completely disagree with the political and social viewpoints of the Roman Catholic church. From their condemnation of homosexuality and gay marriage, to their stance on birth control and female reproductive rights, I am stongly at odds with the perspectives of leaders of the Catholic church. The main thing that I admired about the late Pope was his stance on war, and on the need to end human suffering in the face of war. For that, I pay my respects.
A recent death that has been eclipsed by the death of the Pope, but is being felt strongly in my little world, is that of comedian Mitch Hedberg. He was an incredibly funny man, whose star was on the rise, and who will be missed.