I must admit, Toll the Hounds, although not my favorite book, left its fucking mark on me. Erikson’s father, R.S. Lundin, died while he was writing that book, so it focuses so much on the grieving process. The Shark died right when the story started to take a turn for the worst in Toll, so I couldn’t help but latch onto a lot of that emotion and think about the most recent death in my life. Now, I never even got to see Manilla Road, but to hear of a soul so filled with smiles and perfection to the point of literally taking the time to tell each and every one of his facebook friends “Happy Birthday”—that’s a gesture that seems small, but is in fact great.
I’ve always thought that dealing with death is a solitary experience. Sure, it helps a lot when others are near, but the way each individual processes the death of a person is just as unique as our fingerprints or retinas, especially as an adult. While no two people believe the same exact things, the older I get the more I feel like my beliefs deteriorate into fragments that I have a more and more difficult time explaining. I suppose worldly beliefs eventually just became replaced by raw emotion that can’t really be put into words. At this point, all I do these days is hope for things. And for the last week, I’ve just been hoping that Shelton’s soul is somewhere he had always imagined he would want it to be, singing and living in his fantasy world. At times, when loved ones have passed, I’ve always felt that the place for them is right here, on this same planet, but maybe on a different plane of existence… as if the things they most dreamed about were of this world. With people like Mark, he deserves to be somewhere so much better. Somewhere he attempted to describe in his music, but probably didn’t do nearly as accurate a job compared to what he felt inside. Music is still better than words, I suppose. Either way, throughout the course of my read of Toll the Hounds, four quotes struck me. Hope you enjoy them.
“Survivors do not mourn together. They each mourn alone, even when in the same place. Grief is the most solitary of all feelings. Grief isolates, and every ritual, every gesture, every embrace, is a hopeless effort to break through that isolation. None of it works. The forms crumble and dissolve. To face death is to stand alone.”
“In love, grief is a promise. As sure as Hood’s nod. There will be many gardens, but this last one to visit is so very still. Not meant for lovers. Not meant for dreamers. Meant only for a single figure, there in the dark, standing alone. Taking a single breath.”
“The soul knows no greater anguish than to take a breath that begins with love and ends with grief.”
“He was a man who would never ask for sympathy. He was a man who sought only to do what was right. Such people appear in the world, every world, now and then, like a single refrain of some blessed song, a fragment caught on the spur of an otherwise raging cacophony. Imagine a world without such souls. Yes, it should have been harder to do.”