My New View on Death

Catchers Mask

Duality of vision.  At least that’s what I’m calling it.  As of May 4th last year, along with my “new perspective,” my way of looking at things, physical things, has changed.  For example, driving into my garage every day I see Maggie’s catcher’s mask she used to wear while playing softball.  It hangs just inside the garage door right where I park the car.  When I see that mask, I think of the soft plastic that used to touch her forehead, the grill she used to breathe and taunt through, the strap that used to get tangled in her hair…. Such a simple object yet so filled with the richness of her experiences, the richness of her.  I also see it as a creepy object a dead person used to wear.  Both perspectives exist simultaneously, separately and incongruently in my mind.  One of those perspectives exists only in my heart.

Because of what I’ve experienced, death has lost its cold hard edge for me.  It doesn’t scare me anymore.  I have no fear of dying.  It doesn’t give me the chills or turn me cold.  All that which was very scary before has now been replaced by a much different feeling.  Instead, death seems to me like it was that day with my baby the day It happened.  It’s warm, soft, peaceful and relaxing.  Death has now been humanized and even maybe romanticized.  And it’s certainly nothing to fear anymore, not for me.  How could I fear that which brings peace?  How could I fear that which might bring me back to my baby?  I can’t and I don’t.

Lord, I can feel my mother’s blood pressure rising as I type this.  Chill, Mom.  No, this is not my suicide note.  I hope that most who read this know me as quite stable yet prone to over-intellectualizing, even about that which might be considered risqué.  I am just trying to describe yet another interesting change and/or step in this journey, one I could never have imagined, like so many others that came before it.

I could never have imagined ever in my life my wife dying.  I could never have imagined holding her as she breathed her last breath while I whispered how much I loved her into her ear.  I could have never have imagined wishing I could lie just one more time next to her lifeless body, the body of my best friend and life partner.  I could never have imagined being happy that she was no longer breathing.  How could anyone ever imagine that death could bring such happiness to someone so deeply in love?  But yet it’s undeniably true.  The warm, soft, impermeable blanket of death doesn’t scare me anymore because death, to me, now means relief.  And sweet relief, after what I’ve seen, can be much more meaningful than anything else living could offer.

I’d guess that few others around me share this duality of vision.  Instead, the creepiness factor colors all that death touches.  The softness I see and feel and experience isn’t there.  The cold, bitter harshness of death is.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen it in the eyes of people who have come to the house.  I’ve seen it in my friends’ eyes when I tell them (which I rarely do, unless they specifically ask) where Maggie’s ashes are (beside me on the desk as I type this note.)  I’ve seen it too, when potential new friends look at me when I say “last year, in May” after they ask “when?” which is typically followed by an awkward pause in the last conversation we share.

I’d guess that other widowers or widows have different views of death than I do.  I’m certain many of them still see death as the enemy, as evil… like it stole away their sweetie.  No doubt, for their situation, they are right.  Oh, I see it so amazingly differently.  And if being a widower didn’t alienate me enough, my new and somewhat non-conventional views on death surely finish the job.

7 thoughts on “My New View on Death

  1. I don’t pretend to understand what you’ve been through or where you are going, but I do understand your sentiment. I’ve watched close members of my family live and die from cancer, and their death did provide relief from their pain that life never did, ir provided an end to the struggle that their life never did, and that they could in some metaphorical sense be okay, healthy, vibrant again in a way that they couldn’t in their life anymore.

    I’ve read blogs of parents how lost children, and they describe death in a very similar tone as you do, in a hope that they will one day be united.

    I believe that your “non-conventional views” on death are very mature. It is only for lack of a larger vocabulary that I use the word mature, because it isn’t exactly what I mean, but close. Blah, blah, blah, I’ll cut to teh chase, once again your ability to express your thoughts and feelings are amazing.

  2. Once again I’ve learned though your words which I never looked at it that way before.Please keep doing this as you go though life!Lessons to be learned!!!!!!!!

  3. Death is certainly a life event. In our times… few people so directly feel and witness that moment of exchange. I’m thinking you didn’t run away where so many others might have… and will now always have that better perspective. I will always admired you for being so there for Maggie. It’s just lump in the throat beautiful….


    A friend of mine is on the board of directors. After reading some of your more recent posts I thought i should let you know about this organization. I’m know you have amazing friends and family around you. Maybe some of the people involved with sslf can… well… relate to what you are still going through and lend you even more support than you already have.

    You are a brave man and you will and deserve to move through this journey as you see fit and you will “move on” if and when you want.

  5. I have experienced the loss of a child due to catastrophic illness. I had somehow been able to quietly tuck that reality deep within me. I have been afforded these realities as a licensed clinician in medical settings. Today, i also face the challenges as i am diagnosed vwith cancer. i have a new life now thanks to the challenges/changes in my life. Life is wonderful as i have friendship, family and love.

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