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Ding Dong She's Dead! ...wait, what? #uu

Yesterday someone took the microphone during "time for sharing joys & concerns" and said that she was celebrating with joy the death of her toxic step-mother, whom she'd had to deal with for 32 years even though her father died in 1980. The lady said that she would refuse any sympathies offered and instead she wanted high-fives and leaps of joy that this woman was dead.


I've been thinking about it since then. How, as a (future) Unitarian Universalist minister, should I deal with that? It's not my place to judge (despite my imperfect performance at judgment because unfortunately I judge far more than I want to). But one of the UU principles is to affirm and promote the respect and dignity of all.

As a minister, I think that I'd have a responsibility to the principle. And to hear this said in a UU service, to ask people to celebrate in the death of someone she hated... I just don't know how to deal with that.

Perhaps I should have taken a moment to remind everyone of that principle, not pointing the lady out in particular. (But I'm not skilled enough to be extemporaneous in that arena quite yet, for longer than a few moments.) Would have been wise, given the collection of quite-intelligent people in the audience? Would that have been wise, given that this woman was celebrating a moment of what to her was joy, no matter how wrong that I myself felt it was in that context?

In a private conversation as her minister, I'd want to point that out gently, that perhaps she'd want to be glad the toxicity was gone rather than be celebrating the death of a person she hated.

Confusion.

Our culture celebrates the death of the hated. But that is a terrible thing: I believe we must hate what's been brought about, but the person was simply human and also dead.

I think I might feel differently if it happened to me. On a small scale, I'm relieved that my paternal grandmother is no longer causing problems between my father and my mother and my father and his brother. In that way, I'm glad that she's passed. But I'm just glad that the toxicity is over. I'm not glad that she's gone.

I suppose everyone reacts differently. I know of someone in the same congregation who has gone through much the same thing. But when his step-mother passes away, I think he will be relieved that the toxicity is over, but I'm pretty sure he won't be asking for high-fives on Sunday morning.


Something to wrestle with.