The only time I really wept after learning of my paternal grandmother's death about a year and a half ago was when I was asked to throw dirt upon her coffin. This was a Jewish tradition I was not aware of in which the family has the honour of the first coverings of the dead body. I didn't cry because of the reality of her death, I cried because I felt it was awful to be throwing dirt upon her. That part upset me. I stood above the grave and heard the thud of the dirt on top of her box. Before I could do my own shovel-load, I burst into tears and walked away. To be fair, she didn't seem too upset either.
I am often asked how I can speak so lightly and humoursly of death. The answer? I am simply not afraid of it. It is not as if I shouldn't joke about it because I could be next or I will jinx myself... The thing is, I could be next and I don't have to jinx myself! Secret: we are all going to die. Let's make that less impersonal; I am going to die one day. Sooner or later, it will happen, whether I am insensitive about it or not. I try not to joke about others' beloved one's passing but if it is about my own hypothetical death or someone that would affect me, as long as it won't upset them, I see no reason for it to bother me. Death is a simple thing. Living one second, in the ground the next. It can't be that bad... you have no idea it's happening. You're done, expired, fin. Sure, you leave behind some very sad people but they're sad because they miss you, not because it is so unfortunate that you are in the state of deadness. No one ever said, "Aw, poor Liv, she has to endure being dead." No, they said, "She will be missed." There's nothing wrong with feeling this, of course. It is a natural reaction. However, one must recognize WHY we react as we do. You miss that person AND you stop for a moment and think, "Ah, jeez, I could be next. I am scared of the unknown." Some people say they are enjoying life and would be sad not to be part of it... You wouldn't be sad if you were dead, silly! You'd be feeling dead with a side of deadness and dead thoughts in your dead head. I realize some readers may feel upset or offended by this but I see no other explanation. Please do correct me if I am mistaken.
Now I've explained my lack of fear when it comes to death, but why the humour? Why not the humour, I say! We laugh at some racist, sexist, dead baby, rape, and other offensive jokes... why not the least offensive of them all? The dark, morbid sort. There's just something that tickles my fancy about the concept of death. We are all living these ridiculous lives for no real end result other than leading to more ridiculous lives striving for success in order to do absolutely nothing in the bigger picture and then one day whether by choice or nature, something says, "Nope. You lose."
We complain our entire lives, nothing is ever good enough and when we actually have something to complain about, every individual is convinced they have the hardest life and no one understands them. Boohoo. We get better and we still complain. We have a minor setback or an obstacle or a rough patch and suddenly nothing is good or right in the world. Humans take everything for granted and then STILL complain when we are near death. What greedy little things we are. As if any of us have anything better to do than deal with puny, irrelevant dramas. Nature doesn't pick a particular person and say, "Let's ruin his life." Things just fall into our lives. Good or bad. Lucky or unlucky. Whatever you wish to label it.
I don't mean to sound so sour about this. I do apologize. I guess my real issue is that I get picked on for being fascinated with death while all these life suckers who can't just exist, feel they have any right to whine. "My problem is worse. I win.", "No, my problem is worse. I win.". Well, you know what? My life is pretty great these days. I win.***
We all have scars, bad ones, but there is no excuse and there never will be an excuse that outdoes what is possible. I don't care who your mom was and what your uncle did to you and where that lady touched you. Take responsibility for today. No one else can suck up your joy if you maintain it. Happiness is in your brain, it's a totally different area of your brain from where the trauma is stored. I definitely will not say, "If you want to be happy, just be!" Because that's stupid. Any cognizant human being is going to have a touch of misery at all times... that doesn't mean you have to walk around letting it consume your entire life. Your relationships, your emotions, your adventure and fun, that's all your responsibility. If you need professional help, go for it. If you want to talk to a cute stranger, do it. If you need a day of doing but sleeping in the sun, wear sunscreen! Pointing fingers at your past and your family is not going to help you get anywhere but it will awaken your depression.
If anyone knows depression, it would be me. I know it very well. What I have learned from it is that no matter how much you feed into it, no matter how much you blame it, it still won't change. What you can change is how you do things, how you view things. If you're a pessimist, be a pessimist, be freakin' proud of pessimistic you are. Yeah, that terrible thing will happen but that's okay! Be a little nihilistic, it's not so bad. If you can fix it, do that. We are all afraid of trying new things, meeting new people, going strange places but what's the worst that can happen... you die?
As always, feel free to comment if you feel otherwise or agree!
***Footnote: Wait until my mania ends. If I write another entry during my depressive state, it will be SO much darker. That's always fun.