I’ve become very apathetic about death.
One of my RV mates at Burning Man brought her friend’s ashes to be burned at the temple. The day after the Man burns, the temple burns. It’s always very somber. People whimper and cry. This year, I simply shrugged my shoulders. “I really don’t care for the temple burn.”
My RV mate insisted, “Well, honey, it’s because you’ve never lost anyone close to you.” I didn’t care to correct her.
A few days ago, I got a cryptic voicemail from my upstairs neighbor. “We need to leave town. Something very awful and unexpected has happened in Noah’s family. It’s very terrible. It’s terrible.” I had no background to feel anything. She hadn’t even elaborated.
When I bumped into my next door neighbor, I asked, “Was there a death in Noah’s family? I got this cryptic message.”
“Oh yeah so did I. I bumped into her in the hallway before they left for Chicago. Noah’s mom has cancer. She’s going to start treatment so they’re going to Chicago. I think they just found out that she has cancer.”
I feel like a monster for saying this, but I rolled my eyes. I wanted to scream, “THAT IS NOT UNEXPECTED!!! THAT IS NOT AWFUL. YOU HAVE TIME TO BE WITH THIS LOVED ONE, TO GO TO THAT PERSON, AND SPEND TIME WITH THEM.”
When people talk about death and how sad this and that is, I just want to die. I want to yell, Do you know what is really fucked up? When a loved one dies and you don’t have time to say good-bye! When a baby dies after ten days on this earth! That’s what’s really terrible. I hate that this has done this to me because I am that person who cries when I’m reading fiction. But when I hear about death now, I think…How old was this person? How many years and years of memories had this person created? We’re all going to die sometime. At what point, do we celebrate a person’s life and stop commiserating over their death.