I died while listening to an Arcade Fire song.
It seems apropos, really.
I always secretly wished I’d go out to an epic swell in A minor.
The life soundtrack equivalent to the ending of a Six Feet Under episode.
I wasn’t thinking about anything truly important that moment. The thought that Funeral still remains far superior to any subsequent album released by the band crossed my mind.
Visualizing the dress I was going to be wearing to the dinner on Friday was fighting for the preliminary spot in my brain. I wanted something long and sleek, black…or maybe teal! I was into teal the months leading up to my death.
What I was thinking about foremost was getting home. Home being a relative term, I’m discovering now. What I wanted then was warmth from the cold air. To take off my skirt, put on some sweatpants, and watch that Ryan Reynolds movie sitting in the DVD player. But my actual home will forever exist in the memories of my childhood. The place I grew up. The house my parents put on the market two years ago when they moved down to South Carolina.
I wonder how long it will be until they get the news. I hope no one tells them. I hope within these minutes from now and then, they magically forget they ever had a child, one that was going to be taken away from them. I want this to be a nonexistent blip on the wavelength of their life. That they will keep going and never have known who I was. I wish that for them.
And I wonder if anyone is going to tell him.
Funny thing is, when I wouldn’t hear from him for days, I used to think, “I wonder if anyone would tell me if he died? They don’t even know I exist.” I would find out days later that he was killed in a freak commuter train accident or slick road conditions by obsessively Googling his name for obituary listings.
Now who is going to tell him? Maybe our mutual friend, Jennifer, but she didn’t even know we were seeing each other. In fact, we tried so hard not to bring any awareness to our relationship that we often avoided each other completely at social events. It may have appeared to others that we had generally no interest in one another other than the occasional hello. I’m sure he’ll find out soon enough. When he and his wife are getting dinner with friends tomorrow or maybe, just maybe it will have made the news.
I wonder what he’ll think. Or if he does think, where he can vocalize that thought. The only person he could talk about me with was…me. Maybe the thought of me will die as well, trapped inside his head.
And now I will forever be known as the girl who died too young. My legacy will be that I was deprived of my legacy. A girl who had so much to offer and never got around to finishing it. They’ll talk about me as the good girl. The one who went to college, the one who moved to New York, the one who landed a job at one of the largest national news outlets, the one who loved her family and friends, the one who always look pretty and sweet. They’ll never know that I had never been in love. That I was seeing another woman’s husband. That I was completely and utterly ambivalent towards my career. That I never stood up and fought for somebody else’s rights.
That I kept thinking there had to be something more.
No one would have gathered this from the Facebook profile that outlived me.
I found out last week via Facebook that a high school classmate of mine had passed away. I learned this through profile messages that mutual friends sent to him that appeared on my homepage. Their messages included the words, “can’t believe”, “too soon”, and “shocked”. These trigger words lead me to his profile- one that I maybe never ventured to before that day though we were both Facebook friends- and discovered that he indeed passed away. The whos and the whys, I do not know and I wonder if I even deserve to know. It is just difficult to comprehend when a 28 year-old passes away. It’s these moments that remind a young person of their impending mortality.
(*work of fiction and not based of off personal experiences, but rather thoughts that come to mind when I see in the news that a young person has passed away)
Beautifully written – a range of thoughts that I am sure many of us have experienced,expressed so well – thank you.
I am grateful to the creators of this pain-relief medicine! It helped my little baby when he suffered! That's what i want to say here.
DAM tht was heavy. But you know the somber truth? The world would go on. I had similar thoughts after feeling ambivalent about a lot of shit but in the end, we would get replaced and the world would keep on spinning for infinity until we return and become part of it again.
I think Israel has it right in a way. I think to some extent, we'd all like to think the world would stop. That for at least one person, it would. I think it would for a while, but it's human nature to move on…
I'm often scared to imagine scenarios such as that- such as what my own ghost might say. But it's fascinating nonetheless. On one side, you've got terrifyingly depressing and on the other you've got fascinatingly creative. You stayed pretty firmly on the side of the latter. Which is pretty rare and great.
I rarely think out loud about this kind of thing, but occasionally I have these transcendent moments where I feel empathy with people who are suffering combined with a kind of serenity about death. Very occasionally. Anyway, I got a bit of that feeling reading this post, which was nice.
That was a great piece. It is really brave to dive into those sorts of situations, I shy away from them because I'd rather not think about it.