I know I’m a bit fixated on death, probably always have been and always will. My first encounter with it was at age five, my great aunt who I loved more than my mother at the time passed away, ovarian cancer. I was devestated.
At age 12-14 I watched my grandma waste away from Lou Gehrig’s disease. In the words from one of my favorite films, Pet Sematary, “sometimes dead is better.” She was utterly miserable by the end. She was also a big enthusiast on the whole living thing; cooked healthy, gardened, worked out regularly, took care of others right up to the end. I’ve never met anyone kinder. It taught me that death is coming for us all, and gives not a single thought to how “healthy” we are trying to live.
Finally, on the score of “big” deaths that I seem to never stop thinking of; my grandfather passed away in my late twenties. He was 96, and it was his time to go when he went. I helped take care of him for the previous decade, and watched him decline, in horrid detail. He was something of a cad, but a charming one. Anyone else carrying on like he did would be called a womanizer, but he loved people, didn’t know how to stop. From him I learned that even in decline, you have input into your care, and a life well lived is no awful thing.
Anyway, memorial day is the only day I put flowers on any grave, and it’s on my grandma’s because it’s in the city I live in. I was looking at her headstone today, it said “2004”, which means 18 years have passed since I lost her. Eighteen years, which in honesty I never wanted to live a day of. Yet here I am, because there is no justice. People are just alive, and some of them die.
I think when someone close to you die, it starts preparing you for your own death. Which is why I really think some people die when they are damn well ready. Eventually you’ve lost so much, left so much of yourself behind, that it’s time for the flesh to catch up. Being suicidal, it’s being anxious to get it over with. Though we get more attention, those of us who talk about it, or do it in some sort of public way, lots of people kill themselves without letting anyone know that is what they are doing.
I think about drugs, quite a bit anyway. There are street drugs that allow you to slip out of this waking world. Further, every dose is risking being your last, the end of you. Something in me finds that beautiful. Further, addiction alienates the family, which means by the time you go fewer people will be sad about it. If I was really determined to die, that’s how I’d do it.
I’m weak though. I have sixty years left as likely as not. So apart from the mild hedonistic streak, my lifestyle isn’t effected by my desire to die. The point is, when I do anyway, I hope it’s a growth experience for others. I hope that my life mattered, even in the smallest way. Maybe that would make the pain worth it.