Death was some sort of a background music that threaded through my weekend.
It started on Friday morning when a friend and I had a psychological discussion about his fear of dying. I have known about this for some time now but it was only during our talk that I understood how painfully consuming it could be for him.
Later that day I received the horrible news about the death of a friend back in Manila. A gunman killed him outside his home. It was painful and difficult to accept that I will never see him again. I am still processing his death, crestfallen for the beautiful wife he left behind.
How can someone be so petrified of dying when it’s the death of people you love and care for that seems to be more frightening and agonizing?
My friend Mar and I saw Les Miserables on Saturday night. I’ve read the book, seen 2 movie versions and experienced the musicale 3 times. I know the story, the characters and Cameron Macintosh’s lyrics. Almost everyone dies in the end. No surprise there.
But when Eponine, the universal symbol of unrequited love, dies in Marius’ arms and in her last breath manages to utter that she is finally happy, sleeping in his arms at last.. How sad is that? Is death a better alternative to a life of misery and despair?
On Sunday night on Downton Abbey, Lady Sybil dies due to childbirth complications. I did not see that coming. (Apologies for the spoiler to readers who have not started Season 3.) Why Downton creator Julian Fellows opted to kill off this beautiful character whose heart is full of love and kindness is a mystery to me. And because I ridiculously involve myself with tv characters and plots, I grieved for her poor mother.
I was in 5th grade when I was diagnosed with first stage Leukemia. True story. While my parents made heroic efforts to hide this from me, it was my sister, who casually told me while eating a bag of potato chips, that I was sick and was going to die soon. A normal 10 year old would most likely burst in tears and panic. I, however, did not get scared.
I went to my room and I picked out my favorite dress. A lacey number with flowery prints. I put it on, combed my hair and positioned myself on top of my bed. I put my hands together over my belly and closed my eyes. I pretended I was in a coffin and practiced being dead.
It seems macabre for a 10 year old. I don’t know why I reacted the way I did. I remember it with fondness, though, like a Wes Anderson movie. But it is how I feel about death even to this day. I am not terrified of it. Maybe because deep down I believe in afterlife and I get to be the daughter of Remington Steele in my next life, the way I daydreamed as a kid every time I witnessed my parents fight. Maybe death in my head was the portal to peace and happiness. Or maybe because when I die I honestly think I’ll be able to fly, be a ghost and scare all those people who were mean to me.
Perhaps the way I am with relationships and airports is the same way I am with my own life. I would rather be the one leaving.