Someone I knew and loved died today. According to my dad, it is nothing to get depressed over; it’s a fact of life. And as clichéd as he was being, he was correct- it is a fact of life. He then wisely admitted to the fact that death does hurt the people who are the closest to the deceased.
The problem was, I was close, though not the closest by any means. He was my mother’s uncle (my grandmother’s brother), he was over 70 and he wasn’t perfectly healthy. But I did love him, and it just makes things difficult to digest.
I’m sure his children and grandchildren feel worse than I do. My grandmother, and her sister (who also recently lost her husband) are probably a mess.
It doesn’t change the fact that it just feels so weird, and that we weren’t ready.
We had spoken to him only a couple of days ago, on his birthday, wishing longer, healthier years.
Obviously, fate or whatever it’s that you’d like to call it, likes to be ironic. And not just because he died a couple of days after his birthday, but also because the cause of death was the cold he caught during a treatment for another condition.
I’m grateful that he didn’t suffer, and that he didn’t go through mental deterioration, that he lived his days as fully and cheerfully as he could. I’m happy that he at least didn’t die last year or ten years ago.
But he did die. And I wasn’t ready for that. I was kind of expecting him to live somewhat healthily to his late 80s, at least. I know it’s wishful thinking.
And I wasn’t ready because he was the youngest sibling- younger than my grandmother and their sister. And I love all three of them. You can guess that my mind isn’t swirling with the most cheerful and optimistic thoughts right now.
He’s not the first person to die in my family, obviously. But he’s the second person to go that, we, as a family, really cared about.
The first was my grandmother’s sister’s husband. Don’t let the long title fool you – I often considered him as my own grandfather, and certainly liked him more than my own grandfather.
But he was older, sicker and a bit more depressed. So while it was sad, it wasn’t shocking.
This one hit closer to home, and maybe because I had seen him and talked to him more recently.
And it is a bit unsettling to be worrying about what you were going to watch that night one minute, and then finding yourself questioning a lot of things. Yes, it is human nature to wondering about life after death, whether it exists, what happens after your heart stops beating, whether the person can hear what we think or know how we feel afterwards…But the rate and intensity of the wondering, after someone’s death, is quite different.
It brought me back to some days ago, when I was talking to a friend about immortality. Well, we had just seen Wolverine, and while a comic book adaptation movie about a mutant might not sound that deep, it does revolve around some decent themes: like immortality isn’t worth a damn if you can’t share it with anyone you care about, or if you don’t have a purpose.
My friend thinks it is a good thing that we all die, so it does kind of lessen the number of people we experience the death of.
And while I agree that immortality, after having lost everyone, can be a curse; I still think that being like Wolverine is the perfect fantasy because he stops aging at his prime (I’m no comic book nerd, so if he does age very slowly, I wouldn’t know), he heals himself- so even though there’s physical pain, it’s very short-lived and he lives on healthily. And hey, he is a hero – he saves a lot of people when called for, so he kind of deserves it too.
Hey, forget forever. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were rewarded like a couple of healthy, coherent, happy years for each year that you were a nice, kind person?
So yes, it sucks that we experience loss and grief. It also sucks more that we don’t live great lives for longer periods of time.
But hey, that’s just me. So would I want to be immortal like that if it would be just me? I don’t know. The “alone” thing scares the hell out of me. Yet the potential of exploration, all the more that can be done and experienced and felt excites me.
If given the choice to be immortal, I guess I’d just ask about the conditions first.
Therapy & Escapism…
But hey, it is what it is and this is one of the reasons I write. My writing world doesn’t have to reflect the real world all the time. I can make my characters live as much as I want.
It’s not to say they don’t go through loss or pain. They do. But it’s all on my terms, and I love that. I get to decide. It empowers me, and entertains me. It provides shelter when I need to escape reality. But it also inspires me to go out and live my life to the full as well. Because as I keep creating more stuff, I get to live more vigorously.
Writing is also one of the best forms of therapy. This is why I wrote this post. I realize it might not be the most consistent or logical thing I have written.
You don’t think of outlines during therapy, do you?
But everything I said, as sporadic as the structure or ideas might seem, comes down to living, losing someone and how we interpret life, death and life after it.
Sometimes you just need to write.
Thanks for listening reading.