Watching this video made me cry. The song, ‘Medicine’ by Daughter resonates even deeper. It is rare that I let sentiments and emotions merge so willingly and radically. This dance attacked me from my usual morning reveries and now I am stumped with the pieces of life and death stacked together – howe did we ever learn to kiss death goodbye willingly and at the same time, give life our warm embrace? We don’t.
I remember my grandma laying on her deathbed, unable to move – weakened by her own wilting body and faltering will: no longer able to find the reason to stay on in this material world. My father stood on one side of the bed – it is all fuzzy to me now- while my mother wiped the saliva that drooled down her chin, pooled at the side of her pillow. I watched my thirteen year old self, aware of my own disgust with old age: aware that my grandma’s body which was once nubile and agile was now weighed down by overworked bones and tired cells. I cried in the bathroom when news crossed the ocean into my household: my greatgrandma is dead. My mum cried until her eyes turned an angry shade of red. They were puffy and painful too from her regrets of not being able to see the woman who raised her up when she was a child for that crucial one last time. She flew back(of course she did) to Taiwan for her wake and I was left to wonder why we just can’t let go of death regally or deservedly.
The people who have left us are probably at a better place right now. It is those of us who are left behind that weeps – the jarring realization of their absences, their cold bodies now a mere vessel of nature; only the memories are intact now and even that is fading with our aging brains. We cope with them differently, of course. Some of us wallow in deep pools of regrets and what if’s; others heave a light smile with a firm faith in their heart while the rest of us roam the perimeters of confusion, trying to figure out the mechanics of moving on. In school, they don’t teach us about death (or sex for that matter). We are left to maneuver the quintessentials of life on our own – amongst whispered, sacred conversations with our peers who like us, don’t even begin to understand the intricacies that formed this social world. I would like to think that we are better now. We are wiser, a little less idealistic and we can now differentiate between viable realities and dreams – we are working our ways to that much talked about pursuit of somethingness.
Maybe death is supposed to be jarring all the time; death is supposed to jump at us in the oddest moments in our lives – making us confront the unresolved issues and decipher the conundrum of our current status of being alive. Because at the end of the day, what the death don’t get and we do, is basically a second chance.