Our existence derives its meaning from use, for this reason a glass bellows when it is used even for mundane activities as opposed to a china set that is reserved for the grandest of balls. Seemingly important yet so impotent, a parody of life. For it cursed to accumulate dust, yearning for that special occasion when it will be used.
We are doomed to suffer death not but once, but a myriad times. Life is but a cycle, dotted with pleasantries and marred with sorrow, born with a whimper, the apple of our mother's affection yet we are damned to die but alone. Sans prized possesses, for all these are but meaningless, for who can boast of all these or try to pass them to death as a bribe. Beckoning to Death, " Pick from my treasures and I will oblige, but spare my life." All this is in futility, for death succumbs to nobody, incorruptible and with deadly precision, it cometh to close the curtain to life as we know it.
Before the final act, we are but spectators, watching ourselves degenerate as youthfulness passes away giving in to infancy yet again, pants sagging and a belly deflated, subjected to the couch and a clandestine existence, aloof and disconnected from the world.
We die our first death; like a rusted nail not even fit to be used for a coffin, even death has no use for us. Our achievements embellish our walls as they stare at us mockingly; indicative of a time long gone when we were at the apogee of our career. We gave counsel to students and distinguished scholars and our ideologies buttressed academic theories in our fraternity earning us accolades and respect from our peers. Yet today, they look at us scornfully, rebuking our ideologies as hallucinations. "He must be losing his mind from the cocktail of medication", they retort as they break into a cacophony of laughter. Before my very own eyes, I begun to watch friends dissipate with those remaining offering seasonal visits, each accompanied with a heap of excuses for a missed visit and soon they vanished.
Those that remained with me were few, either bound by moral obligation or duty, with a monthly wage for their troubles. Slowly, I became a prisoner in my own body, unable to twitch but most of all feed myself. We plunge further into our first death; into the realm of insignificance and dependency.
We experience a paradigm shift and realization that death is not the sheer absence of life for in the presence of life death can prevail, seemingly coexisting. Though our bodies are alive; our minds are dead to the birthing of new ideas. I am not referring to writer's blog, a temporal state but a state of mental stagnation, close to a vegetative state. Our attempt to fight this state is considered lunacy; so we succumb and fall deeper into stagnation.
I found myself bonding more with infants, most of whom were grandchildren that were brought to me for naming ceremonies and blessings. However, I was aware to the fact that the primary purpose of these visits was to serve as annual farewells and guilt cleansers in the likely event I traversed to the other side. These visits were more comforting unlike those of my other relatives that came with piercing eyes running around the room to note prized possessions which they would bequeath themselves once death lays its iron hands on me. "So, how are you feeling today", they would quiz me as they took breaks to rest their necks that screamed with pain from revolving around the room. On Sunday, the local church minister would pass through at around midday for a brief bible reading, carefully chosen so as to avoid the utterance of death.
The young minister would stare at me, and I at him, reminiscence of moments spent with my son. We would break into conversation and delve into sports and philosophy; these would last about a couple of minutes, before my wife would bust in and insist I needed to rest. The minister would obediently trot out, to return the next Sunday. Our family doctor would pop in thrice a week for occasional check ups and replenishment of medication. Otherwise, the house was somber with occasional calls from non-profits seeking bequeaths and salesmen selling funeral policies. I took it light heartedly and teased my wife that my funeral would be a hive of phone calls from my newly found phone paparazzi trying to cash in. They would ensure that I did not go quietly into that long goodnight. On the other hand, she was not the least amused at my dark sense of humor and she made it known. Luckily, I was not the only one taking the heat as she lambasted the callers, unequivocally telling them that I was not dying soon and if they kept calling, their wives would need those policies and bequeaths sooner rather than later.
Soon, I had slouched into the winter of my life with frailty and infirmity constantly walleyed me. Each day that I opened my eyes was an escape from the jaws of death. I spent most of the time in my bed and could no longer gallivant around. My speech was slurred and my hands were autonomous from the rest of the body, jerking wildly. I still remained obstinate, insisting to feed myself and drink on my own. The ending was always the same, food splatted everywhere and pools of water and I would become irate. My wife would seldom speak; instead she would quickly grab a face towel and a mop to clean up. Then she would lean forward and kiss me as tears lurked in her eye sockets. She would leave the room and return later with a crossword puzzle, which we solve together. It was the same trick but it never grew old and it seldom failed.
The second and final death is public, where everything ceases and we lose all sense, taste, sight and mind. We bid farewell to our loved ones if death gives us the privilege or we are whisked away. Tears again typify this moment. They positive words that eluded our life, overfill in our death, niceties only preserved for the dead. Even the crudest of criminals through death are absolved of their inequities. For a being is doomed to cometh and leave this world as they cometh, involuntarily and to insignificance. Their death is like a sonnet; short, punctuated with commas and ending with a full stop conforming to the vocabulary of life.
The poet is an enigma in whom people seek truth and meaning, their writings become philosophies that form modern day ideologies yet it is not the poet's intention to write profound work. Their innate desire is to merely express their views and it is in this that they find solace. Their pen is their faithful companion, loyal to its masters' will, unblemished by the world and duty-bound.
Even in life, my husband went fighting, resolute and adamant to the fact that death could not beat him. He still remained the man I knew, headstrong and determined to write until his last day. In his own words, death is not the absence of life; neither is life the absence of death. The sun is not visible at night yet it does not move, so does it mean for that moment it ceases to exist. Nothing in this world is obvious. Life's greatest enigma is life itself, the comprehension of which will obliterate our mortality bringing to question the divinity of God.
Stay well, PEL.