Good or Bad Death
by Laurie Raucher
I’m wondering after being in the South, to be exact the lowlands of South Carolina where 18 feet above sea level is considered a mountain of high ground, whether or not I’m going to die a good or bad death.
The Gullah people in the lowland Sea Islands believe if you die a good death you get to rise harmoniously to join your ancestors in the great beyond. They leave cups and saucers, food and household accessories at the grave site to aid you in your journey home. Going to church and living a long, simple life devoted to treating your fellow humans well results in a good death.
Now a bad death means you’re going to hang around after you die, roaming restlessly as a haint or a spook, visiting people and places you’ve not yet left behind. Haints, spooks, like Navajo ghost whisperers, seem to be taken rather seriously and tend to be perceived as a bit eerie, even somewhat scary. Then there’s also boo hags who can slip out of their skin and crawl through the cracks in your house at night. A bad life of crime or harm assures a bad death.
I must admit that something about becoming a haint, spook, or boo hag appeals to me. I don’t want a life of crime or harm, but I do like to travel around and meet people. My skin in old age is getting saggy and should be shed anyway. Plus, I certainly wouldn’t mind scaring or hainting some of the asswipes I have known in my life.
Time is running out. Good death or bad death what will it be?
Laurie Raucher is a recently retired Certified Property Manager, who handled the management of large apartment communities from Los Angeles to Northern California for 40 years. Since childhood she has written stories and personal essays. For the last 27 years, she has resided in the Chico/Paradise area, where she wrote a year-long column for the local newspaper, The Chico Enterprise Record, highlighting topics of interest to women in their “crone” years.
As a result of her writing, she has been invited to give oral readings of her work for events such as the 100th anniversary of the Chico Women’s Club, an organization originally active in the suffragette movement. Laurie is mother to her daughter, Amy, grandmother to 9 year old Darringer, and companion to her glad-hearted chocolate lab, Hannah. Four years ago she traveled to Charleston, S.C. for her first SSAC workshop and has been a fan ever since.