I guess I’ve always known that death existed, somewhere in the morbidly-inclined back corners of my mind. It’s just that it doesn’t usually happen in the Midwest, and never to people I know. Recently I found out that it has happened to a coworker and two former classmates, and it’s making me feel introspective.
What do the dead want from us, anyway?
Should we cry and gnash our teeth, curse their names for leaving us and then take it back and then drink until the bartender who used to date our friend in college puts his hand on our hand and says gently, “Don’t you think that maybe it’s time to go home”?
Should we carry on bravely for them? Does that help? Kiss in the rain whereas before we might’ve said “Erm…Wait here!” and gone inside to get an umbrella, effectively killing the overall cinematic quality of the scene?
Should we live fearlessly to affirm life, or worry constantly to protect it? Worry that we left the stove on, worry about driving next to semi-trucks on the highway, worry that each Facebook status update will be our last, that the very last public word from us — under which all of our friends and semi-friends will write their RIPs — will be some stupid musing about macaroni and cheese or reality TV?
It’s weird that just last week I saw this co-worker looking at an old newspaper on the microfilm machine. It’s weird that our last conversation was about gummy worms and car trouble. It’s weird that he might’ve caught the flu that killed him from the little orange button that makes the microfilm zoom forward double time.