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The Expanse Series: Grief

Holden, the only continuing main character of the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey, is pretty much the epitome of a hard working good willed regular guy. Except, of course, that he is a retired Earth “navy” officer who flew in space ships rather than sea ships. Holden has a history of saying “fake news” as soon as he hears it and making assumptions that just aren’t true. He does that because of his intense moral compass (sometimes misconstrued) and belief that we all deserve to know all the facts.

The third book in the series, Abaddon’s Gate, is filled with many cinematic scenes and lots of mystery but in one scene Holden has launched himself toward a large unknown object made by aliens. His trip there is several hours long and he begins to think about his childhood and compare it to this very scary journey. He recalls a time when he was nine and his childhood dog was very old and dying in his arms. The death was not quick. It was not exiting.
“By the third [hour], against his will and every good thought he’d had about himself, Holden was bored,” (chapter 22, page 230). It is incredible how fiction can really hit you in the gut with such truths. I had the same experience Holden did a few months ago when one of my rats, Math, died. Math had been sick for a while and he had finally reached a point where medicine could not bring him back. He couldn’t move all of his legs and would just spin around in his cage on his side unable to get to his food or water. I held him all day and hand watered and fed him. But I got bored. I watched t.v. while he layed in my arms. The guilt I felt that day was overwhelming. Maybe if I had payed more attention to him he could have lived longer (however horrible that life would have been for a sick old rat). But Holden hit the nail on the head- “It was the first lesson he’d never forgotten. That humans only have so much emotional energy.” Thank you James S. A. Corey for taking my guilt away.
Humans just don’t have the power to be at the ends of their emotions for very long. That is probably one reason depression is so exhausting. After being highly sad, stressed, or even happy we always have a dip back down to “normal.” So don’t worry if you ever get bored or tired after an emotional day. You are not a bad person. Remember Holden and a rat named Math.

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