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[personal profile] rayjwinteraven
"sometimes I wonder if anyone would care if I didn't wake up in the morning"

The truth is that yes, someone would care. I know they would.

Recently, Jessica Lloyd was killed in one of the towns in which I'd lived. I didn't know her, and as far as I know I didn't know any of her family. As far as I know, my Uncle Eddy doesn't know her family, my cousins don't know her family, and a big chunk of the thousands of people who joined the Facebook groups to find her and to mourn her have never met her. Still, they care enough to a) join the group, and b) to post about her.

Even for those of us who don't feel like we are within a community, we ALL are. Anyone who has any contact with anyone else is part of this great enormous invisible web, and it shifts when there's arrivals and departures. The bus driver comes to anticipate your presence. The bank teller. The grocery store clerk. The mailman. Your neighbours. Even with news stories of the guy who died maybe a year or two before someone noticed - he was noticed in time, and I still think about him. Even the massive devastation of the 2004 tsunami, with entire families and towns and villages utterly destroyed, such that there is maybe nobody who remembers the individuals - we remember that they are gone now, and I still feel a pang of loss.

It can be very easy to forget that community is of any importance. Grudges and long hours and commuting and depression and illness and solitary hobbies and so many other things keep us away from one another. But we still occupy a space in our reality, and human beings are aware of such things as history and memories of long ago and patterns and such. Even if someone took off for a remote island, and lived and died, eventually someone will be along and note that a person had existed there, and will be impacted by their life.

Every now and then, I read about how elephants remember. How a mama on a routine annual migration will stop and grieve over the bones of her lost baby, years later, and all the elephants will grieve with her. I remember how I feel, thinking about the layers of time settling upon that elephant mama's life and reality, and I realize that it's the same thing for people. We'll care about your absence one day, those of us who know you and those of us who pass by where you had been, and those who encountered you in your routines, and those who interact with anyone who'd ever known, and anyone who learns of your loss and thinks about what you meant to the world. You are now, and always, a part of my existence, and it matters if you're gone even if I've never known you.

'Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.' William James
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