Everyone interprets death and handles death in their own way. And, for each person, there is always, at least, one loss that is more difficult to handle than all else.
As a child, I had trouble understanding death. As Tim O’Brien once wrote, “How can someone so incredibly alive be so incredibly dead?” One day you’re laughing together, expecting nothing less than the good time you’re having and then the next day, you actually have someone less. It’s a heavy burden to bear and a heavy thought to wrap your head around, especially when you’re realizing it for the first time.
I asked my mother about it, still thinking that she knew everything, even the unknown. I felt like I was preparing myself, making sure that I got all the information I could so that I could be prepared, just in case it happened to someone I knew, or to myself. I considered every little detail, making sure that God didn’t forget toilets when he created Heaven. Then it occurred to me. When I cross that boundary line, what would happen to the world that I left behind?
“Instead of drifting along like a leaf in a river, understand who you are and how you come across to people and what kind of an impact you have on the people around you and the community around you and the world, so that when you go out, you can feel you have made a positive difference.”-Jane Fonda
Obviously, life goes on. While people grieve, sometimes for the rest of their lives, it doesn’t take over their entire being. However, one of my biggest concerns is: Is it all for nothing?
Can you imagine how many people came and left this earth and never left an impression on it? What if I became one of those people? That’s a thought that’ll bring you down.
Another question I asked my mother, that being the time when was I still very much into cartoons, was if Spongebob Squarepants going to die? Her answer, curiously enough, was no, he wasn’t going to die…because he’s a cartoon. And, cartoons supposedly live forever.
That’s the thing with images. They really can live forever whether it’s on paper, on the screen, or in your head. It may not be completely clear or accurate in your mind, but there is some vague conception of our loss. Some call it remembrance. Just like a photograph, it can fade within time and may not be significant to every person in the world, but if it’s significant to you, then it has a purpose in the world. And, that isn’t such a dreary thought.
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”-Anita Roddick
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