Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Also, it's weird to look at all the old people at a viewing service, knowing that it won't be long before they're dead too. How do they feel about that? They must go to a funeral every week, where people their own age are passing on.... do they feel the countdown? Are the walls closing in?
But then again, if you think about it, I could be dead before they are.
And death is such a strange thing to begin with. So unnatural and it smells funny too. It's the black hole from which no-one can send a message saying "this is what it's like." Sometimes people who are living have dreams or visions in which this happens, but one could argue that these come from the subconscious attempting to console itself, or something like that, and sometimes houses seem like they're haunted by dead people who are still around.
Or maybe it's like "The Others" where those who have died are living in the same places as us, but in different dimensions, and when the dimensions blur and they catch sight of us, they refer to us as ghosts, and think their homes are haunted. But strangely enough, when they wake up in these dimensions after dying in ours, they gradually realize that they aren't truly sick, or the hole in their head isn't causing them pain, or maybe they're just imagining it, and they wonder about us, and what our dimension is like, and when they occasionally run into us, they're frightened and look for all sorts of ways to ask us questions or make us go away.
Dead people in coffins always look like manequins, and it's creepy to think that you're in the same room as a corpse, especially if you see a fly buzzing around, and you realize that it's not a manequin, it's a corpse, and it's slowly rotting, and eventually it will go through all the disgusting phases a corpse goes through, and then it will be soil, and trees will grow there, and more things will die, and then more things grow.
And dead people in coffins bear a shadowy resemblance to people you once knew, but it's in looking into a coffin that it really becomes clear to me the difference between a person and the body they live in, and how separate they really are. Just like that one can leave the other, and that body was never the person you loved. It was only a vehicle, and now it's broken down on the side of the road and somebody special is out there somewhere looking for a ride.
I read about certain funerals, I think in ireland, where coffins would be propped up in a room, so the dead person would be standing up, and the humans would proceed to throw a big party, and get really drunk, and just have a grand time with loud music and stories and dancing, and it would be a celebration. This person you love abandoning that old Sprint for a Porche, one you couldn't see, but you know it must be silver, and it drives on clouds and it's fueled by wind, and it sounds like birds and trees and thunderstorms.
Sometimes I look at people crying at funerals, and I want to cry too, but only because it hurts me to see them so sad. One day someone close to me will die, and I'll feel their absence in a way that tears me apart, and then someone else will feel terrible for my loss without feeling loss themselves. We all trade places eventually. The living become the dead, and the dead the living, the happy the sad and vice versa.
I've started reading "through painted deserts" by Donald Miller. There's one paragraph that came to mind today, on the way to the viewing. Donald crushes an ant beneath his shoe and says, "all your questions are answered." I almost laughed when I thought of it.
Tomorrow I am a pallbearer at my grandfather's funeral. Weird.