Coping with death
Death, as Grandpa Simpson once said is all around us. And just recently I’ve had to agree as it’s been quite prominent in my mind recently – for two linked, yet diverse reasons…
I found out recently a friend had died, not a close friend by any means, but enough of a friend for me to feel sad and to miss him. That it was unexpected and very sudden just makes things feel worse.
And the thing is, none of these feelings are simple, they never will be. Apart from the shock and the grief, there’s other stuff mixed in there too. There’s huge feelings of sympathy and empathy for my best friend who was there when the body was found. He was younger than her, lead a healthier life style, I know how scared that makes her, how unfair this seems to her. But I;m grateful she’s still around.
Then there’s the worries I have, that I live alone, no one else has a key to my flat, and that were I to die suddenly, no one would find me for weeks, perhaps months. A fear compounded by my natural inclination to lock myself away from human contact for days on end, whenever I get the chance. Then, of course, I feel guilty for being so selfish, and demeaning the whole situation with my own trivial worries and that makes me feel worse.
But that’s the thing, death isn’t about the dead, it never really is. They’ve done their bit, played their part and moved on. On the whole they’ve moved onto a better place. It’s the living that suffer death. So, it’s perfectly acceptable to be selfish at times like these, because we’re the ones who have to go on living without the dead. We’re the ones who have to pick up the pieces and tidy up the flats and clear out the rubbish and just get on with our lives.
And it’s partly because of that, the ones left behind, that I’m still here. Because, understandably, the last month has caused me to become so low as to resurrect that old black dog of my depression, in all its manic glory, like a long lost friend. It’s only ever the shortest of steps from feeling incredibly sad to feeling full of self contempt and lacking all self confidence. And because of those I’d leave behind, I’ve got through some bleak times.
Although I’ve made peace with my death, I’m not, quite, ready to give in just yet. I may be gazing at the knife drawer for perhaps a moment longer than I should, I may be more reckless on my scooter than I ought to be. But my desire to live is outpacing my desire not to live, even though it can, of late, be a close run thing.
I know I’m a better person than I currently think I am. I know life gets better, that nothing is as dark as it seems at times like these and I will be fine and do ok. But just right now, I’d like to be able to wallow in my sorrow.
Grandpa Simpson naturally got a lot more laughs when he talked about death.