I have spent the last three weeks watching someone I love die horribly. It is over. We cannot choose the way we die, only the way we live, so I flew home yesterday and used the time to reflect on another way we might be said to die.
Life is lived at the edge. How else would you know you were alive? Safety, security, routine and familiarity can also kill. A man can die incrementally over time, his manhood withering like a leaf in winter. He does not suddenly stop breathing, rather he forgets what it means to live and is buried so slowly he doesn’t even know he’s dead.
It takes the rain on his face, a brush with physical danger, or the kiss of a pretty woman, to awaken what remains of his life within. Death in this sense is not a function of age. I have seen young men who were never alive and old men who do not know what it means to die.
The knitted cords of domesticity are initially comforting, but they rub, chafe and tighten as we change and evolve, constricting a man’s mind and limbs in unexpected ways. Most succumb as the mind and body find innovative ways to hide the pain. Others break free only briefly, just long enough to bite the apple and gasp with amazement at what they have been missing. A few seize the day, each and every day. You know who you are.
“I will seize fate by the throat; it shall certainly never wholly overcome me.” Ludwig Von Beethoven