With all of the recent events of our nations, it’s hard not to take time to think about what is going on and what might be ahead of us. I’ve been pondering the celebrations that have taken place. To be honest I feel a lot of conflicting emotions. In the secret corners of my mind, I can’t help but feel it is wrong to celebrate the death of any being. I know that is not very acceptable in this climate and some may feel I am not patriotic but that just isn’t true. My immediate family and extended family has a long history of serving our country through military service. Most of my friends serve our nation through military service as well.
Silently, I’ve debated the moral dilemma of celebrating death, even when it’s the death of someone who has done terrible things to innocent lives. I think all of us can understand the desire to punish someone or to see them suffer for the pain and suffering they have caused us. As I debate this, it brings me back to my childhood. When I was eight my mom had acid thrown in her face and was shot in the head at close range. She went into a coma and died. My two sisters and I were suddenly left without a mother. This act of violence affected each of us in a different way. My older sister was ten and as an almost fifty year old woman, she still struggles with the death of our mother. She has never been able to move past this loss and has allowed it to consume her life. My younger sister was only two…the loss of our mother didn’t seem to affect her at all. As the middle child, my mother’s death affected me right in the middle. I mourned her death and talked to God a lot. As I got older, my faith or love didn’t change. With time I gained a greater understanding of what took place; it was a terribly sad way to die. However, in all the years since her death, I’ve never longed to celebrate any harm that may have come to the lady who took my mother’s life. It never crossed my mind. Even though I know she took my mother’s life when she was a young woman and I know our mom never got to see us grow up and was never there for us when we needed her, feelings of hatred never developed toward the lady who took her life. Yes, I’ve wondered how all of this affected her life and her own children’s lives. I’ve wondered how she felt. There have been times I’ve crawled in that secret place of sadness and pain but I know celebrating someone else’s pains or sufferings won’t bring our mother back. It won’t bring back a single moment our mother has missed or all of the years she will miss. I realize my mom’s life is just one life compared to the thousands that have been lost but the loss of that one life changed the course of the lives of many other people.
Morality comes to mind when I struggle to identify the feelings I’ve been experiencing. I feel compassion and even understand why and how so many people rejoice in the death of an individual. Yet, I am left questioning if celebrating the death of one individual is any more moral than when others celebrated the death of thousands.
Copyright 2011 Lorrie Lane Dyer
About the Author
Lorrie Lane Dyer is a facilitator for the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation with the University of Dayton as well as religious education and parish coordinator. She is working on her Masters of Leadership Development, with a focus in Military Chapel programs at St. Mary of the Woods College. Her faith provides her with inspiration for many of her poetry collections, columns and short stories.