life and death (suicide
Life and death
Life and death are two subjects that human beings will never fully understand. This might be because of the infinite complexities that surround these two concepts based on the different knowledge bases that one may decide to use. Many different cultures and religions offer knowledge about these two interrelating subjects. However, the data provided by various sources also tends to present a lot of variations that scholars may not be able to prove precisely as whether true or false. Despite these complexities, it is possible to establish certain connections or relationships between these two phenomena. Poems and stories under the theme of life and death are proof to these claims and despite the different storylines, settings and characters the relationships are still portrayed clearly to the readers. One of these correlations is that is that just before death, the thoughts of the person about to die flashes back through life to the most defining moments of one’s life, one’s feelings of the moment and how the moment shaped their lives (Creeley, 13).. Love and hate are intimately intertwined with life and death. It is love and hate that defines most people’s lives and thus during death one recalls all the things that shaped one’s life either through love or hate.
Suicide is a painful way of ending one’s life, but it is also a clear demonstration of the hatred one had for the life he/she was living. The person’s hate for his/her life makes him/her to choose to end his life willingly. Before death, the person flashes back to the past life and thinks of all the things he/she had hated about that life and how different it should have been to make it different from what it currently is (Createspace, 25). The person may even consider how different her feelings would have been had her life been what she wanted. A good example of this scenario is seen in the poem ‘Suicide Note’ by Janice Mirikitani. In the poem, the student who is of Asian-American origin decides to commit suicide. In a note expressing her thoughts, she expresses her hatred for her gender, being a girl in her family. The girl also hates that no matter how hard she worked she never pleased her parents and neither did she gain their approval (Elisa, 1). The student is desperate to please her parents, and she is convinced that the only way that she would have made her parents happy without all the effort invested into it was if she had been born a boy. The image that the girl paints through vivid description of how easy it would have been to please her parents had she been a boy, compared to all the hard work she had done as a girl to no avail is crucial. These different two images are the root to her hatred for her life and the reason she commits suicide (Spark Notes, 1). This is because the girl thinks that as long as she is female, no matter how hard she worked she would never be enough for her parents who preferred a male child instead. From this poem, it can clearly be seen that there is a connection between the love the girl wants, her hatred for her life, the miserable life she had and her death.
The moment before death may also remind someone what it is that one indeed treasures or simply put, what one loves. In the day-to-day life, people are caught-up by routines and activities that they think are important but which in turn sidetrack them from what they love. This is seen in the short story, ‘Bullet in The Brain’ written by Tobias Wolff (Cameron, 1). Anders the central character in the story is a book critic. Anders has done a lot in his life and also has a lot in his life this including his daughter who is an Economics professor. Anders may have thought that he loved all these things, but it may have been because he thinks he is expected to love them just as other people do in the society. However, it is until Anders is shot that what he loved become clear to him. Many are the things he had thought he will reflect on during his last minutes of his life. Some these include; Sherry his first lover, his wife, his daughter, memorized poems, the last words of her dying mother, among many other things. On the contrary, what he remembered was one of his childhood memories when he realized that he loved being a critic. A moment when one of his playmates made an error in his speech and Anders felt elated that he had noticed the error unlike the other boys present who didn’t seem to care about it. This had been his moment of truth, and it was replaying all over again right before his death (David, 2). Another important indicator to be noted is that the reason Anders was shot was because he marveled in the verbal errors the bank robber was making while expressing himself. This scenario shows a connection between what Anders loved, his life and his death and how they interrelated.
Death also may point out to one’s most hurtful moment’s life, the moments we hated most. Such moments are usually still painful even when they replay again in our minds. Some of these events might have been so instrumental in our lives that we may have felt if things had played out differently; our lives would have taken an entirely different course. This isn’t different in the story ‘The Jilting of Granny Weatherall’ which was authored by Katherine Anne Porter. As many elderly people are, Granny Weatherall is in denial about her fragile health. Not knowing how close to her death she is, her mind wanders away to what she had been doing all her life when she was still young and had a lot of energy such as fencing her farm, taking care of her children, cooking meals and cultivating her garden. Even when Granny overhears her daughter and the doctor talking about her serious condition she doesn’t take them seriously but instead brushes away her thoughts of dying by rationalizing that she is still young. However, when death approaches granny, her mind flashes back to the most hurtful day and moment of her life. This is the day her boyfriend George jilted her during their wedding. It is clear that it is this day that Granny hates most since it was the day she was hurt the most in her life (Spark Notes, 2). Despite the past sixty years of fighting against remembering this memory, death replayed it clearly. She could recall the vivid details of that day such as the fresh breeze and the green environment, there she was covered by a white veil waiting for George, who didn’t show up. Granny realizes that she is dying when she sees her dead daughter Hapsy and becomes aware that she wasn’t ready to die since her affairs weren’t in order. In Granny’s illustration, during her death, she recalls the moment she hates most which was caused by the person she had loved most, and the emotions of her life followed her to the last moments of her life.
From the above poems and stories used to illustrate the complex relationship between, love, hate and life and death it can at this moment be said that these four concepts are all interrelated. It has clearly been shown that what we love or hate follows us even in the last moments of our lives when we face death. However, other than scare us, this relationship should encourage us to live lives filled with love, the love of doing what we love. At the end of our lives, we shouldn’t view the end as a break from our tormenting lives but rather rest after giving all our strength to our passions. Above all, since we don’t possess the power of controlling other people’s actions towards us, we shouldn’t also give them the power to make their actions haunt us and make us miserable. On the contrary, we should move forward with positivity since negativity, and suppressed feelings of hatred are one sure way to a quick and premature death.
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Creeley, Robert. Life & Death. New York: New Directions, 1998. Print.
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