Death and Romance
I saw a story circulating online about a man and woman who’d been married for many decades and eventually died together holding hands in the most abjectly romantic way. People that I had thought of as logical and intelligent immediately started jumping up and down and holding this couple’s devotion and death up as the ideal and saying things like, “the wife and I talked and this is how we want to go.” Well that’s just fucking mean if you think about it. I mean this is some cold heart, ice in the veins shit.
I’ll put myself in this position as an intellectual exercise. My wife and I are very dedicated to each other. Just being close to her makes it all better and she seems to feel the same about me. If I’m 80 years old and in failing health, the last thing I want is for her to be in the same situation. I want only for me to hurry up and get dying over with so she can enjoy whatever life she has left without having to watch me suffer and waste away. If she were in the position of being ill and dying then I would not want to watch her suffer. All of the greed in me wouldn’t make me willing to trade a few more seconds of being with her for a few more seconds of watching her suffer. She doesn’t want me to watch her suffer. Hell she doesn’t like when I see her with the flu.
I’ve watched a number of people who were very special to me die slowly. They more or less got to hold my hand the whole time and I tell you what, it didn’t make them feel any better. They were uniformly crushed with guilt; misplaced as it might have been, that they were burdening me with their personal tragedy. They knew I cared and when they asked for space I gave it to them even though I wanted my time with them before they were gone. My greed for their time had to be put aside.
I want my wife to live a long and fruitful life after I die. I don’t want her to be there for it and I would rather neither of us know it was coming. We live every day together with utter gratitude to fate that we woke up side by side. There’s no need to be regretful or greedy or sad or ridiculously and over-zealously romantic. There’s nothing romantic about dying and there’s nothing romantic about suffering. That kind of shit sucks or we wouldn’t avoid it at all costs.
When you see stories of things that seem heart thumpingly touching and give you the idea that you could do with some of that in your life, think about it a little more. Think about what is happening around you and not to you. When it’s our turn we might or might not get a lot of time to bitch about what’s happening to us. How about resolving now to make choices from thought instead of emotion. The real question is, who would you prefer go first? You or your special one. I know the greedy side of me wishes that it would be me first. That only serves to push suffering and sadness upon my wife. It also silently acknowledges the fact that I don’t think I could deal with me being 2nd. I know there’s no good way for us to part because it will only happen at the end of our lives. At least I know that though and I’ve taken a minute to think about it dispassionately and with some consideration to the other people that are likely to be involved.
Yes, I still hold the preconceived notion in my head that dying holding hands would be utterly romantic. I know for a fact that it wouldn’t be as romantic as all that. If nothing else there would be a couple ladies that had to find out they lost both of their parents on the same day. How tragic is that for them? That must be like being abandoned to a child.
People put a lot of only very cursory thought into some of the notions that they hold to be righteous. Those actually righteous notions are so much rarer when the whole state of the situation is held in the mind and the rest were just fooling you. Don’t be fooled into thinking like a simpleton. It’s harder to think maturely and rationally and you often find that there is no option that is objectively good that’s available but at least you were honest with yourself and compassionate to others in your self-honesty.
Tacti-cool isn’t cool. Tactical means short sighted, vigorous and urgent which means things have already gone bad. Strategi-cool is cool but there’s not a slick way to make it sound cool. Probably because thinking isn’t currently cool. That’s uncool. We cool?