I use a ton of them. Both at my job and in my own life. Here are just a few, about the suicide.
How it felt when Mike died. My daughters and I holed up in a bunker, knowing it was not safe to go outside, not knowing if and how life would go on.
Some strange things happen in a bunker after the apocalypse. First of all, everyone gets really close. That’s a good thing. Also, you pass the time with weird activities. We watched mindless movies and read books to each other. We couldn’t play any games, cause that was pure Mike. We couldn’t handle the holidays, also Mike. We couldn’t look at pictures or talk about the past or the future. We just focused on whether we had enough rations for the day, and what episode of Star Wars we would choose (also Mike, but somehow exempt). Better yet, Zoolander (definitely not Mike).
College, the Metaphor:
This is one of my favorites, but also one of the hardest to implement. Basically, college is (usually) awesome even though you know it’s going to end in 4 years. So, why can’t our lives and our memories be awesome, even though whole thing had to end? What if we could think of Mike as a super-cool college that we all got to attend, get filled up with, shape our minds around. And then we just move on to the next phase, the next great thing? Well, there are tons of reasons why, making this the hardest metaphor. But sometimes I try it anyway.
Life of Pi is another example. Having to say goodbye to everything you ever knew and loved, then surviving on a raft with a large predatory animal. Trying to make the best of it. Building meaning from it. Becoming spiritual. Something like that.
The Iron Stake:
This one is harder to describe, it’s really more like a feeling I can’t shake. I just picture Mike’s death as a giant, heavy, black, iron stake in the middle of my mental, emotional landscape. I can’t get over it, I can’t pretend it’s not there, I can’t move it, and pretty much everything has to revolve around it. I think people dealing with loss, maybe a lot of kinds of loss, might relate to this one.