It hangs over us like a giant weight, looming, lurking, waiting in a distant future. An ominous presence whose shadow is cast upon us all at the most unsuspecting moment. Many do not fear it, yet most never wish to meet. Some say it is the gateway to another life while others believe it is a portal to hell.
Death is defined as the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.
Death is all around us, we see it everyday. Some may turn their heads from it as though it were a light to bright to see, while others will turn towards it as if looking into a bewildering unknown future. Turn on the television or go to the movies, we are greeted by Hollywood’s many versions of death. Kind and gentile is the picture of grandpa drifting off to sleep or in your face with blood, gore and dismemberment. Death resonates in our minds and stirs our imaginations. You can say it doesn’t bother you to watch zombie beheadings while a teenage girl is raped and mutilated. Tell yourself over and over it’s just make-believe. Take the dare from a friend and sit through vile evisceration at the hands of a producers sick and twisted vision. Either way you are still watching death as it erodes your brains sensitive subconscious.
Headline news almost always starts out with a story of life lost. A dog stolen and thrown out of a moving car. A child taken from its parents in the middle of the night only to be found months later as an abandoned corps in the woods. Children shot to death by a deranged student, or a family bludgeoned, then left for dead as the house is torched. News headlines are there for us every second of every minute of everyday. The vile disgusting side of human nature shoved in our faces through our televisions, phones, laptops and I-pads. Stop just for a moment and think to yourself; since I woke up this morning how many times have I heard the news speak in regards to death?
Now before you think I have gone off the deep end, please hear me out. I am in no way suggesting we stop watching the news. I am also not suggesting that we quit watching television or the movies. The message I am trying to get across is why are we allowing these images to happen? Why are we doing this to ourselves and our children? Why do we feel the need as a society to always push that outer envelope of emotion? What drives us to move farther away from moral values into destructive behavior? There was a time when we sheltered our children from vile images, allowing their brains to develop to a point of being able to understand the consequences of death and its aftermath. Now I hear through my own children of fellow students who are allowed to watch movies such as SAW, Silence of Lambs, Hostel, and the Hills have Eyes. At eleven I hardly think they have the ability to process the horror they are witnessing.
Yet death continues to be glorified in our society. We also glorify death through the use of humor. Why? Is it because we fear death so much that humor is the only viable release? As an adult I have the ability to make that choice. Having seen death first hand I know its ugliness in all forms. I have witnessed the disturbing things we as human beings can do to each other out of anger, rage, or mental instability. I have held the hands of strangers as they passed, and taken charge of corpses so badly mutilated that one is left wondering why would someone do this and how this is humanly possible?
Fear death or laugh at it? Yes I have earned the right to make judgement on how I will handle my emotions on the subject. Yet as a young child, I don’t feel you should find the sight of death humorous at all. I know I cant shelter you but I can ensure that you are not bombarded with false images that tear away at your moral fiber. I also don’t believe one should completely fear death. Fear is a normal reaction but maybe understanding more about it without Hollywood’s twisted take on the subject would help ease ones mind.
Then there is the remaining questions. What is death and how do I describe it to my children? The simple version is the definition printed above. But being someone who has only experienced the aftermath of death. How do we really know what happens to ourselves as the moment takes us. Is there really an afterlife? Are we so brazen to believe that we are all things in this gigantic universe we call home? Or do we simply close our eyes and pass into nothing, black, darkness? Some days I find myself sitting on my second story balcony looking out into the fields and pondering; how sad it will be that one day I will no longer be able to see this beauty. No longer be able to smell the mustard flowers in bloom or the Eucalyptus trees in the spring. It makes me sad, leaves me worried for my children and I am left wondering why we are given this wonderful gift of life. This gift that so many waste, with the way they live their lives! Wasting away are those who worry endlessly over irreverent, stupid, petty things. I am thankful for all that I have in my life, yet selfish due to my reserves about giving it all away, succumbing to deaths inevitable arrival.
So what do we do? What do we do as a society to ease this mental conundrum that lays before us? Do we continue to propel ourselves forward where before long it will be acceptable to watch the beheadings of small children in a sick and twisted version of Survivor that can only be seen through Pay per Veiw? Or do we start standing up as parents and say enough is enough, demanding stronger censorship in regards to gore on television and in the movies? Do we begin to recognize are mortality and quit living as though there will always be a tomorrow? Or do we continue on blindly as though we are immortal? Or am I just completely out in left field with all of this, shrouded by a foggy vision of the world due to the experiences I ‘ve had over a 17 year career? Imposing my cynical brain upon the weak and unsuspecting? I just dont know…..
Oh by the way in case you were wondering or possibly unsure, I always choose humour to deal with deaths darkness.