Understanding Death

This weekend I traveled home to attend my Grandpa LeBaron's funeral. He's the first family member I've known to have died. I can't say I completely understand how I feel about it. I understand that this is a great loss for my family. I understand what's happening in the big picture, because I believe in life after death, and that families can be together forever, and that I will definitely see my grandpa again. I also understand that it was better for him to graduate from this life than to be here suffering. When I talk to any family member about it, they tell me one thing, "it was good."

When I found out he had passed, I had just finished a project with the Adlab that required us to stay up for a whole 24 hours and complete a whole campaign from start to finish within that time. I had a very successful day, the client had loved my idea, and I was ready to fall into a deep slumber. I had been awake for a total of 36 hours when I found out, and the first thing I remember thinking in my head was "I do not know what to feel right now." I didn't tell anyone. Not my closest friends, not my peers or colleagues, nobody. What would I tell them? How do you tell anyone that someone very close you has passed away? Who would I tell anyway? I couldn't sleep at this point, my brain was too awake. I turned on some of my favorite works by Chopin and Debussy, and drew a bath to think it out.

How about that? Death is good. What a paradoxical concept. We are raised to think and believe that death is a sad thing, that death is the most depressing thing that can happen to anyone. Of course, it's a very sad thing. Losing someone you love is not something you look forward to. Every death we see on television, read in the news, or hear about on the radio is accompanied by tears and depression. But in some aspect, death is good. Maybe I can understand this because of my religious beliefs. Maybe I see why it was good because I saw the suffering before his passing. We look at death as the worst possible thing that could happen to anyone, but there can be, in some lives, a sense of relief. But whenever I talk to anyone in my family about it, everyone keeps telling me, "it was good."

I think when you're old, you think it's okay to die. It's just the next part of life. But when you're young, even when you're not scared, you don't want to die. There is such a great fear of death, or so people think. I think people aren't afraid of death, they just don't want to die. They don't want to leave their family, friends, and this beautiful world created for us. They don't want to leave the human experience, their body, their senses.

More than anything, I think death makes you see things. For a time, you're no longer looking at the world around you, but you're seeing it. You'll notice things. You'll notice things like how snow can fall so slowly. You'll stare out the window for hours listening to the Chopin nocturnes, watching the snow, and trying to understand how snow can fall so slowly, while everything around it happens so rapidly. Why can snow slow down time?

This weekend I learned some things about life and death I'll never forget. And although it was sad and heartbreaking, I now understand is that it was good.

1 comment

  1. From every beginning there is an end. And for every end there is a new beginning.