Shield Anvil/ The Passing of an Age

I have decided that it would be better not to be a god. Gods are cruel things sometimes.

Today the best part of my grandfather was lost to me. Do not grieve-yet: his body lives. His mind, however, is all but gone. I stood and spoke with him for some time at dinner tonight and he was no longer here. He was confused, possibly afraid, and he wants to go home.

I once volunteered for a crisis hotline. One night a week for 11 hours or so I was the voice in the wilderness for total strangers on the worst days of their lives. Mind you, there were a number of abusive callers and several who were beyond any kind of permanent help and I eventually quit that service because I felt I was there for the wrong reasons.

But, soon–sooner than I ever would have wanted–I shall be called on again. The older members of my family who knew my grandfather in his prime will feel his loss acutely and must needs have someone to stand by them in their grief. I will make that my burden. No one would ask it, no one could ask such a thing, but I will do it.

I shall be as the mountain that rises from the sea.
Throw your grief upon the shore
And in my embrace find peace.
Give me your burdens, all you who are weary;
My shoulders are broad
And I will not yield.
I am shield and I am anvil;
I will guard you from distress
And temper your resolve.
So bring me your tears, all who would weep,
For I have weathered many storms
And I am not yet done.

After all, what use have the dead for the thoughts of mortals, brief as they are? To what purpose are the dead resolved? How can they lay down their burdens or banish their fears? And what of those left behind?  There must needs be one who can be shield and anvil for the living: one who will embrace their pain that they may live free of the burdens they know they cannot repay. It might as well be me; for I am still standing, and I am not yet done.