In Greek mythology Charon is the ferryman that takes the dead across the river styx to Hades. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica “The word styx literally means “shuddering” and expresses loathing of death.” Yesterday I witnessed that with my father and I felt like I had become the ferryman trying to shepherd him safely to the end of life..
I am trying to remain beside him each step of the way. Mind and body seem to go to war with each other. The body stops taking orders from the mind. The mind stops accepting reality and becomes irrational. It becomes the task of the ferryman to navigate the waters of confusion, fear and loathing.
We are all headed down a hallway to a doorway that passes through to the unknowable. In the end it is a journey we each take alone. The toll is paid and the ferryman recedes back into the fog with only faith as a handrail to hold on to with each step of trepidation.
Mythology and religion are a beautiful way to find meaning for the suffering associated with mortality. These days I take comfort in both through imagery and prayer.