“Memento Mori” – remember that you will die. I have the phrase tattooed above a depiction of a skeleton lying on his grave toasting a drink with the devil. The symbolism behind this is for us to embrace our mortality. The skeleton represents us and naturally the devil is the embodiment of death. Toasting a drink on our own grave shows we are at peace with death. We have settled on top of our grave and accepted it. My little brother showed me the idea behind the tattoo a while ago and I immediately wanted it. It serves as a daily reminder that our life is fleeting. Every second brings us closed to death. And I think what scares us all is the uncertainty of what comes after death. That’s where religion comes in – to give us a sense of purpose and security that after death, if we lived our lives “properly” and Holy, we’ll be okay.
I think about death a lot. Conventional wisdom holds that men think about sex nearly every seven seconds. Now imagine that, but with thoughts of death. And not just my death. The death of all those close to me. In regard to my death, I often wonder how – but the main thing I question is how those around me would handle it. Given the opportunity, I’d love to witness my funeral. How would people remember me? How quickly would people move on with their lives? Is it painful? What is the best way to go? There’s the ugly thoughts about how you’re not doing well or making people happy and wonder if people will be better without you.
Life really just comes at you and sometimes it really feels like you’re drowning and can’t surface again. Is whatever comes after this life better? Is it nothing-ness? Will we be greeted by St. Paul at the Pearly Gates?
They say sleeping is like the “Lite” version of death. For however long you’re asleep, you’re virtually dead to the world. There’s a beautiful peacefulness that surrounds you as you drift off to sleep. Is death the same? Will you be at peace when the Reaper comes knocking? I don’t think I’m scared of death. But I also don’t welcome it. I’ve often thought, while lying awake in bed at night – if the unfortunate opportunity came about where the choice was given between my life and one of those I love to be taken, what would I do? I wouldn’t even have to take a second to think. I’d give my life for those I love. No doubt. But the question that plagues me is how would people react if I was gone. That scares me more than the thought of dying. Leaving those I love behind.
I also think what I would do if someone closest to me died. Take for example one of my parents helpers. His name is David. I always found him annoying for some reason. He didn’t do anything to irk me, but I just found him annoying. He was brought up in conversation one day and it was revealed he had had a brother that he lost very recently. That hit me hard. He continued with life so seemingly effortless after losing possibly his only brother. Another of my workmates is an orphan at the same age as me. Both these instances make me extremely grateful for the family members I have, but also extremely sad because those people mentioned are constant reminders that it could happen to me. I feel like I would completely shut down and tune out from the world if such situations befell me. My attitude towards David and my colleague has shifted immensely upon my discovery of their losses.
It sucks. I’m not going to lie. Trying to be a bustling, full of life guy – trying to get by in the world while constantly having these dark thoughts. It’s confusing because they’re dark, but not REALLY. Morbid is more like it. It’s hard to stay happy when death is always near us. Always on my mind.
I finished university and as much as people said to stay abroad and make a life there, options were weighed and the thought of family proved to be the tipping point. Everyone is getting older and I would rather look back at my life and be happy I had spent my life surrounded by family and friends, than alone in a foreign country trying to make money.
I’m blessed enough to have my grandparents and I cherish each moment i see them. They won’t be around forever and visiting home once a year if I stayed abroad would be terrible. Same with my parents. They do so much for me, my goal is to get to a stage they can sit back, relax and enjoy life while I take care of everything. We make it a point to have a weekly meal to spend quality time together. And my not so little brother is going to university this year. So had I not come home, it would probably have been years before I saw him again. I’m rambling, but the point I’m trying to get across is Memento Mori. Death will come for all of us. And I want to be able to look back and not have regrets of not spending enough time with those I love. My mother always told me “Don’t bring flowers to my grave. They’ll be useless to me.”
And I agree. Be present. Enjoy your people while you can.
All I can hope is that if something ever happened to me, those I love and am/were close to would be okay. Better than okay – good. They’d be like David (mentioned earlier) and just go on with their lives. I want that so terribly for them because I imagine roles being reversed and I know I could never manage.