Fleeting: Life’s Greatest Irony – Death

Over the weekend I finally sat down and watched: Dirty Step Upstage, a mockumentary about an aspiring actress who finds herself sucked into a world of intrigue and fame that threatens to devour her if she gets in too deep.

I was just in a ‘blink and you miss it’ moment, but essentially I died in the movie.

Later in the weekend I sat down and wrote a few ten minute plays, one of the plays involves a character meeting her end in a car accident… Well technically she is in a coma, still able to breath and beat on her own, but the moment she stops breathing and her heart beat stops when the doctors go to attempt resuscitation it is then realized that she has a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on file.

Ironically, the ten minute play was in a way a re-imaging of a particular scene I wrote at Currents, the online soap opera… except there was no DNR in that case, but some of the storyline is rather similar, the fight, the aftermath, but not the cause. When showing the first draft to a couple of friends one of the things that came out was that they were not able to sympathize with the male lead. He had a chance to make amends and yet he continuously pulls himself away to the point that when he finally figures out what he wanted in his life he loses his chance due to death.

In fact one of those beta readers went so far as to ask: why use death as a final result when you could achieve the same kind of emotional turnout with the ex-girlfriend dating someone else. To be honest, that would have been the most realistic way to work through things… however to me killing off the ex-girlfriend was far more definitive than having her move on. To me keeping someone alive and moved on to someone else only invites the possibility that she and him could get back together further down the road. Whileas when you kill off the character (as long as the story is still realistic) that ends any possibility of a reconciliation for anyone and the living have to live with any regrets they may end up having.

That kind of got me thinking… Why do we fear death? What is it about the concept of death that forces us to ignore its existence.

Death… to me is inevitable… in a life that is forever changing, forever moving, death is the only thing that we all can be certain will happen. So why do we avoid it like the plague?

First off what is death really? According to Dictionary.com:

1. the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. Compare brain death.
2. an instance of this: a death in the family; letters published after his death.
3. the state of being dead: to lie still in death.
4. extinction; destruction: It will mean the death of our hopes.
5. manner of dying: a hero’s death.

“The end of life” meaning it is the final chapter, the conclusion / epilogue… there is nothing that is happening beyond death. So what is the opposite? Most people would say that that “life and death” go hand in hand. In all honesty though, the opposite of the “end of life” would be the “start of life” the beginning, aka creation aka birth.

In fact, this was also touched upon in Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent, in the song: “La Vie Boheme B”

Tear down the wall
Aren’t we all?
The opposite of war isn’t peace,
It’s creation!

How does that work? War leads to destruction so it is only natural for peace to not be the opposite but creation is.

In any cast, this is the age old question…

One Florida Philosophy Student wrote a post speculating about this.

Another down in Australia provided possible reasons as to why we fear death.

1. Not having a correct insight
2. A new and an unfamiliar path
3. Lack of preparation

I could understand that, all things considered. Humans are often creatures of habit, when it comes to the “unknown” we tend to runaway or over analyze so we are not surprised. I know I am guilty of both possibilities for a variety of reasons.

But I am going to have to agree with the second blog… when it comes to the unknown humans tend to be adverse to it, then again there is no way to truly know what happens after death. Sometimes I would like to think it is reminiscent of sleep… once you close your eyes that’s it… all that is around you is black.

So what is there left to do? Prepare… what else? Which is probably what got me on this tangent… writing a play that included a DNR Form and realizing that my own DNR form is still left untouched and yet to be signed by the physician. Granted having a living will would also be smart but that is something that I will wait til another month, but a DNR yeah… I think that’s going to be necessary.

But why? Because it all goes back to “fate” and “destiny”… if I am in some sort of accident that results in my being a vegetable then what is the point of trying to stay alive as a vegetable? If I am left as a vegetable then it is my belief that it is my time to depart and if I am going to depart this life for the unknown then I might as well enjoy what little of life I have here.

I guess that is why I tend to do the things that I do… that I believe in taking a chance on life, emotions, heart no matter the consequences. If something is pulling me in any kind of a direction and the feeling isn’t negative then I’ll go after it and see what happens. Flying blind. If there is something that I see as a positive in my life I would want it to be a part of my life and just let it grow in it’s own way, in it’s own time to see where it ends up… letting doubt, fear, or heaven forbid, second thoughts just ruins the joy of life. Else it’s just empty…

Anyway I digress…

After all… when death comes there is nothing that you could take with you except the skills, talents and knowledge that you have acquired and the memories in your lifetime.