I have accepted the inevitability of death since I was a small child.
That is if my memories haven’t fooled me. I was born 2.3 kg, so weak and vulnerable that the elders recalled they hadn’t believed I would survive. I don’t remember much. Fast forward, I was 4 or five year olds when I vomited blood and had to be hospitalized for a while. I don’t remember much either. But I remember reporters and journalists visiting to take pictures of the little me who was happy to eat my favorite bowl of congee and didn’t know anything better. And then the ‘fateful’ flight with Shanghai Airlines that I didn’t grasp a sense of our situation to at least make up a prayer for anyone’s mercy.
So I must have been at the gate dividing life and death for a few times to be credible to talk about at least one, if not both? I thought so at one point. After all, why did I start to think about death at such a young age, even attempted to suicide a few times when life is moving normally as it always does?
But now I begin to realize that it’s not entirely about these experiences that lead me to think so. Looking back at the patterns of the times I think or even contemplate about death: the times I don’t know how to deal with life like when I just wanted to move around and stay at libraries so I wouldn’t have to meet and talk to people; or the times when I feel suffocated by the trivial stuff that I deemed more important than they actually are, such as…well, such as when I feel constantly misunderstood and unable to explain myself.
Even those trivial stuff could get me already, and I wanted to talk about death?
I meant, if I wanted to run away, and really meant to run away from life, I must be ready to face death, one of the things of which I consciously have no ideas.
But I am not ready – except for those times it’s totally out of my control that I had to be so close to death – a phenomenon that I actually may have had experienced a thousand times before I got to this version of me in this life, still unsure if my reincarnations would ever end.
At the same time, don’t we face death every single day? Our hair falls, our nails cut, our cells keep regenerating at a pace of which we aren’t aware. Parts of us have already died, every single day, every single moment. And yet we are here, sharing, yearning for a soul who would understand even a word of what we are saying.
A character in an American movie on happiness said, “those who are afraid of death, are afraid of life”. please remind me of that character’s name as well as the movie’s for I agree: at the end of life, there is death; and like that, at the end of death, there will be life. We can’t really run away from whatever that we want to run away – they will chase us, and if not, will still find their way to return before our eyes, demanding us to do the things we’re supposed to do.
At the end of the day, I guess, it may be helpful to think about death once in a while, for thinking about it is to refine our understanding of how momentous this moment is.
I wrote this post originally for BayArt, and edited the last sentence before sharing it here.