A few years back, when I was in college, my friend showed me a video of Lindsey Stirling on YouTube. It was her Elements video, and I freaked out, because I play the violin, and she was really badass.
Fast forward to this summer, when we got tickets to see her Music Box tour. We were really far away from the stage, so we couldn’t see her or the band well, but we had seen enough of her music videos (and videos from her other channels) to know that there could only be three people on that stage–Lindsey, Drew (on drums), and Gavi (on keyboards). The trio were pretty much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione–inseparable.
Now, traveling abroad has made it difficult to keep up with some types of news. So I didn’t hear that Gavi, who, in Lindsey’s videos, is probably the funniest person known to mankind, was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a type of cancer. He also seemed a perfect complement to Lindsey, and everybody kinda shipped them. But yesterday morning, I read a post from Lindsey that made my heart drop. As I read it, I realized I was missing good chunks of the story, but the main idea was there–Jason “Gavi” Gaviati had died.
When I called to tell my mom, she had no idea why I was so upset. To be honest, neither did I–though my period might be one contributing factor–but regardless, I felt pretty upset about it. It was a little like when Robin Williams passed away. Once you’ve seen someone in countless films and on television, you start to feel like you know them. It’s like how you can develop a crush on celebrities, even though you’ve never met them before. Well, I felt like I knew Lindsey and Gavi, and it was not only news of Gavi’s death that I received, but it was news of Gavi’s death via Lindsey herself. You could read the devastation on the page. Lindsey lost her best friend, and that’s not something you would wish on your worst enemy.
The thing is, Lindsey’s Mormon, and I don’t know what Gavi was, but I know they prayed before every concert. I’m sure that they’re going to have a Christian funeral, and pray that Gavi’s soul is at rest in Heaven. I get that. That’s what I grew up with.
What I DON’T get is what I’M supposed to do. For me, the concept of the afterlife is confusing, because, as for myself, during the dark days, I was like, “Yeah, I would rather not live forever? Because that would be really annoying? Like, I’m tired all the time now. I’d be pretty happy with just lying in the ground and decomposing when all of this is over.” And I’m probably still okay with that idea. But what do you do when someone else–someone young and with so much life and hope and optimism–kicks it way before their time? How do you justify that? How do you cope with that?
And how do you pray when you don’t believe in the Christian God? My opinion on prayer has long been, “Don’t pray. DO,” because so many people hear about problems and say, “Ooooh, I’ll pray for you!” like it’s the most selfless thing they’ve ever done, and I hate it. Don’t pray for me, give me a damn hug and then help me with my problems if you’re so inclined. But some people ask for prayers, so should I pray for them? Last night I did a mini-spell to send some peace to Lindsey, but is a spell the same as a prayer–I believe it does something (just as Christians believe that prayer works) but it’s just for me to feel better about doing nothing? Am I a hypocrite? And what can I do besides a spell?
At times like this, I wonder the original question that drove me crazy in college–What is it all for, and why am I fooling myself with religion?
It’s maybe a pretty heavy topic for a Monday, and for the death of a person I didn’t even know. But I’ve seen a lot of death in the last few years, and I want to figure out how to deal with it.