Everyone lives in a mixture of horror and terror for those who wish to leave the earth, but there is a strange peacefulness in death. That decision to let it all go leaves you subject to the numbness the rocks have come to know after years of being battered by the ocean. The kind of peace and grace that you feel when standing in a place you regard as home, knowing that you can bear its’ disappearance if you’re the first to say goodbye and don’t have to witness things fall to ruin.
A zero gravity sets in where the mind and soul float free, and everything ceases to matter. You wonder with a cats’ curiosity if your body will wear the same disgruntled frown your mothers’ did, the day you said ‘aren’t the dead supposed to look peaceful?’ and a funeral home attendant who smelled of lavender oil and cigarette smoke had to leave the room and breakdown while you stood silent and unconcerned as the small stuffed rabbit you had come to return to a demented little old toadstool you no longer recognized as the iron sword who raised you and broke you and taught you to fight.
There’s a strength in giving up the fight, the way flowers give in beneath boots. The way so many windows have shattered over the years to provide entry to blessed freedom and solitary confinement, self imposed, that vice versa loosened the bonds placed on you by a barbaric and broken society who are terrified of the demons with themselves. They’re scared one day other eyes will look out from their own, that the reflection in the mirror will have shriveled and become something the world views with askance, worried glances: nothing is more frightening than the prospect of mortality until you embrace it.
It’s so easy to let it all go and it’s the kind of euphoria no drug can provide; you suddenly view the most heinous people and tragic places with a kind of fondness, a relief that they and the world will still turn as the thread on the wheel long after your own is cut. It’s always the smallest thing that breaks the attempt: somebody with the name of a friend you lost, the tag scrawled with gold text incongruous as the thoughts of the girl wearing it. A single strand of long silver hair that somehow survived the migration of another into that other place, seeming strong as steel cable between your fingers. Your dad stirring his cup of tea the exact number of times he always does, and always will whether you’re here or not.
But he and others would be twice as broken, and reality knocking is the most painful but necessary alarm clock humanity has been gifted with. You won’t be Ophelia, floating peacefully in the lilies. There’s no curling upon the altar of a grave like a modern Juliet. Only strobe lights that remind you of the shitty club from your youth where alcohol was banned but everyone was wasted: florescent coats loud enough to shake you from death and a panic that would linger with those unable to save you.
The empty rooms that would come after; the boxes of precious things left in place, long after the deceased has no use for them. My mothers’ bag still resides by her side of the bed, nine months later. My best friends’ stuffed toys still linger after almost nine years. A trunk at the end of the bed contains locks of hair belonging to the brother I didn’t know, whose own demise turned into my family stepping on a landmine twenty six years, two months and seven days past. In the moment of euphoria none of this exists, but when it all returns it’s a struggle to keep your internal organs exiting stage north, via the throat.
It’s a cursed, wonderful thing to feel anything at all I suppose.
Perhaps where there is feeling, there is hope.