As certain as its final outcome may be, death is maddeningly vague. How will it happen and when? I do not like this uncertainty. I ponder its unfairness, fear its possibilities. Would it be better to know for sure and therefore to have a choice in whether we accept life’s choice for us or take our ending as firmly in our own hands as we have taken the other decisions in our life?
Death is the only thing in our lives that is simply an absence of something else. A meal is more than an absence of hunger. It is sensation, texture, a combination of temperatures and tastes. Warmth is more than a cessation of cold. It has security and depth, succor and support. Warmth cuddles us. It is round and deep and soft. Would that we knew that death, too, was more than a deprivation.
Certainly, religion has promises of streets of gold, a reunion with departed loved ones, a coming back to the whole, but what guarantees of the truth of religion have we? I’ve seen friends and relatives return to the faith of their younger years as they grow older, needing some comfort to cushion their inevitable slippery slide progress toward death, perhaps. But I cannot talk myself into a fairytale ending. The poet in me looks for truth over the comfort and distraction of fantasy, and it prods me to create my end as proactively as I’ve arranged those aspects of my life that have led me up to it.
In this case, creativity, however, seems to fail me. I feel helpless in this inescapable forced march toward my end. Possibilities for the first time in my life seem limited. Is it the fatigue of a failing body that keeps me from finding interesting possibilities from which to choose? Or is it the knowledge that whatever my choices, the ending will, inevitably, be the same? Rude death, to be at once so inevitable and yet so vague.
I’ve always hated vague endings in literature or films. Torture for me is a book with the final pages missing. Ironic, then, that I cannot know my own ending. Cannot flip ahead to the last page to know what I am heading toward. Perhaps this is the secret of those who choose to end their own lives. Perhaps it is just their successful attempt to not only know their own ending but to write it as well.
The prompt today is vague.