(…of February, and other more substantial spans of space)
M.snowe’s relationship to death has changed drastically throughout her relatively short life, as she imagines it has for most people who’ve at least seen a few decades go by. At first, it was feared–but now, m.snowe has no trouble saying that the act of dying (while she hopes it’s not painful) doesn’t really keep her up at night. Yes, this might change again in the future given any number of circumstances, but not now, and on the whole m.snowe feels that’s a pretty good way to be. But what does scare m.snowe, or at least cause an almost undue sense of dread and pain, is the fear of dealing with dead things. The idea of death is such a personal notion, yet at the same time it is completely universal–but many seem to forget that every death, every fluctual, dialectical change represents a divergence, a stoppage of what we knew: a void. And sometimes, no matter what type of packing we use to repackage that void, it’s a loss nonetheless. M.snowe approaches these voids with much more trepidation than the possibility of her own.
Perhaps the scariest type of death during life is the loss of others. To clarify, M.snowe doesn’t mean others literal, physical death (although those aren’t exactly fun either)–but the deaths that come with lost interaction, irrevocable differences, failed reliance of trust, anything that causes those despairing driftings away on an untamed sea of reasons. From personal experience in the last two months, m.snowe has suffered (along with many of those involved) the emotional deaths of coworkers, friends, more than friends, you name it. Taking the situations for what they were, m.snowe tried to tell herself she was behaving or feeling irrationally despaired. But taken in view of mourning the deaths of so many familiar people and situations that filled her life with joy, she knows that questioning the strength of the blow was an interior mistake. Because when someone you love dies physically, there is an ultimate pain that you can’t escape. But the finality, the “closure” (m.snowe hates, hates, hates that word) is tangible–despite what Joan Didion would like you to believe or not–magical thinking has no place in this physical world of solids and scientific decay. The only half-lives available have to do with archeology and carbon-dating. But, when you lose a friend, a coworker, a romantic interest, etc., to a change in circumstance, a new revelation, or outright rejection–they do not die so clean-cut and definitively. There is no altar to turn to, no place to arrange your intellectual bouquet of flowers. In fact, magical thinking becomes your simultaneous ally and worst enemy–you craft impossible dreams because the physical lives of these other people are still indeed in full operation–only now, without you and vice-versa. Perhaps this is a mostly American phenomena, but the abilities of our population for wishful thinking are completely overstretched–no one needs to go farther than the movies to realize we’ve got our heads spinning with merry-go-round dreams, brass rings, and carnival grand prizes that revolve around impossible redemption. And all these things, these thoughts and notions of reinvigorated possibilities, visiting m.snowe from the reaches of her own imagined river Styx–they scare her more than mortality.