“Behold, I have come to you, bringing Justice to you, repelling evil for you. I have not done evil against men.” – The Egyptian Book of the Dead
The ancient Egyptians believed that when a person dies, their heart is weighed against a feather on the scales of the god Maat. If the heart is lighter, it means they’ve lived righteously and can pass on to their ancestors and to the good gods. If the feather is lighter, the deceased is devoured by underworld monsters. I assume that oblivion follows. I don’t find this as sad as most people might. Oblivion cannot be conceived of, because if a person doesn’t exist, then nothing does. But I pray for oblivion sometimes. I pray for the gods to crush me, and to either end my existence or make me into something better.
In a thrift shop years ago, I came across an old set of bronze scales, the sort an apothecary might have used, and my Libra nature demanded I buy them. I call them my clink-clinks, and though they don’t seem to work, I keep them on display. On one side there is a jewel in the shape of a heart, on the other a bronze feather. Now and then, I adjust the scales to reflect how I’m feeling. Depressed, heart goes down. Feeling hopeful, it comes up.
This is what my depression is, not cyclical or a series of push and pull like tides. It’s a surge upward and a slide back down. Sometimes I hardly notice, sometimes I feel completely black inside and all around me. All in all, I’m a lot better than I used to be. I used to lose my voice for months due to stress, and generally sat curled up, like I was trying to make myself as small as I felt I was. I feel more secure in this home than I have in any other. The antidepressant I found after years of trying others works, for the most part. I function, I work a long-hours job, I write sometimes, and though my mood is not always upbeat, sometimes it is. Not right now.
My mother’s not talking to me again. Same deal as last time, just more of she wants everything for herself and doesn’t care about anyone else’s well-being. You’d never know this if you saw her with her grandchildren, but I think she likes the grandkids more than her own daughters. The little ones, after all, don’t know the kind of person she is. She hasn’t shown her dark side to them, except a little when she takes Jake’s behavior personally and grabs him and yells, “You hit ME? ME?” She doesn’t get that a child’s behavior problems are not personal. But to her, every little thing is a slight.
I think of the end of this life more often than most people probably do. I wonder about what the process will be. I’m a Celtic Pagan, so maybe my gods will be waiting for me, with their own scale and judgment. I know they will be kind, because Celtic gods came from humans, so they know how hard it is to be one of us. I like to imagine myself as I look on the Other Side, wearing my usual flowing white dress, going to the good god and asking if it was all enough. I have faith that he will tell me it was, and I can rest for a while.
I say in each life, I think, “This is the last time, never again.” But Earth pulls at me even in Heaven’s perfection. I remember how beautiful sadness is, and how pain stretches my soul into something bigger and wiser. Someday again, my longing shall gather.