When we were children, my brother Valentine and I were fascinated by funerals. Mind you, we’d skipped most old time traditions of Vampires living in places where dark crypts led to hidden stairwells that surfaced in your Vampire parlor.
We didn’t live among the dead. We lived among the living and like good little California children we appreciated anything fresh and locally grown. For we were thriving in the Modern Vampire community during the California Gold Rush, or for Val and I it was the end of the Gold Rush and the beginning of a Civil War and then expansion.
My brother Andrew often sang at these events with his angel like voice and sweet smile as he ushered the dead on to a better place. Val and I often wondered what place could be better than where we were right now.
We’d been told that the dead were sleeping. Asleep in a nice fancy box with flowers and music sounded lovely to us. It seemed odd that everyone was so sad. Finally my mother, realizing that we were so off track, explained to us that the dead were not coming back. Their hearts had stopped forever. Their souls had departed and they were gone – forever.
We were horrified. It was then that she sat us down in dark cool evening and told us that we were different from other people. We were Vampires.
“But can’t you turn our dead friends into Vampires like us?” We asked our parents that question pulling on their clothing with tears in our eyes.
Our parents told us it would be wrong and impractical. They said the dead wouldn’t understand. Our older brothers already understood this, but we were still sad. Why wouldn’t everyone want to be like us? It was the last time we’d be so innocent and unknowing.
Yet, as we grew old we realized that we would also experience loss. That of our Regular Human friends and even that of our own kind.
Tonight my daughter told me of a girl, in the next school over. She was a girl who had classes with friends of my children. The girl liked the same music as they did. She was sweet. She had friends.
She took her own life a few days ago. She was only 16.
Just like back then, I can’t make any sense of it. It is hard enough when one leaves due to old age or illness, or even an accident but a suicide seems to be more of a shock. It is something we can’t explain or feel enough grief or guilt or shock over.
I’ve known too many who have gone that way and heard of too many. Especially with the young it is tragic beyond words. I don’t judge, only mourn those in so much pain and so little hope.
We can only find comfort among the stone angels in the old cemeteries and in the warm embrace of those we love, and even then, it still makes no sense.
I told my children that if they ever see someone they think might be out of hope or at risk to GET INVOLVED. Ask if they need help. Tell a teacher or counselor or principal at school. Let those at risk know that there is a future. All things pass and good things are to come, no matter how grim it may seem now. No matter how bad the pain is, there is help.
Wishing you all love and light and the warm embrace of peace.
~ Juliette Vampire Maman