In Memoriam
July 31, 2012
An Introduction to Denver LGBT History
August 6, 2012

Says death: there’s not much to me.

And the miserable celebrations we create to honor you?

They’re not really honoring me.

What then?

People are only afraid of me because they don’t know what it means to be dead. You are living and know it because it is a part of you, and yet you are still afraid of life. How much more afraid of death should you be since you don’t know what it is?

So I’m afraid of ignorance.

It’s not the lack of knowledge that you fear, but the uncertainty it causes. You can’t control it.

But we can learn things. That’s one of our strengths.

True, but can you learn everything, or be sure that you will learn the right things?

We can try.

Is there satisfaction in trying? Because there is none in succeeding. You can’t succeed.

Is there satisfaction in taking away life?

Who said I was taking life away?

That’s what death is.

How would you know what death is? Have you died?

I would say I know death—I’ve seen people die.

Seeing people die doesn’t mean you know death. Watching a man climb a mountain doesn’t mean you know the experience of climbing a mountain.

I’ve seen the face of death in people whom I love.

You’ve seen them dying.

Isn’t it the same?

Death and dying have never been the same.

I suppose you’d say that being born and living aren’t the same either.

I would.

Must you be born to know life and die to know death?

It stands to reason, doesn’t it?

If reason were the answer, I’d already have figured out what death is all about.

Human reason, you mean.

Well, of course. Is there any other kind?

When you say reason, you mean human reason. But hasn’t human reason suggested that there is reason outside itself?

That would mean there are ways of being that we aren’t aware of.

Not that you aren’t aware of, just that you don’t understand. You see? We’re back at ignorance.

So we shouldn’t try to understand different types of reason?

It’s not about trying. It’s about accepting that you can’t.

Can’t or shouldn’t?

Human beings were never good about not doing things they shouldn’t. Sometimes, you shouldn’t ask questions, but you do anyway.

So we’re to be content with ignorance, while living with a natural drive to ask questions?

It shouldn’t be maddening that you’re compelled to ask questions, and it’s not about assuming that every question comes with an answer.

Feel free to ask the questions, but be open to silence. I get it.

I’m not sure you do. If you did, you’d be content with the asking. You could ask a wall and still find satisfaction.

That seems rather daft.

Why?

The point of asking questions is to find answers.

Is it?

Isn’t it?

We assume the questions must be paired with answers. But sometimes, the asking alone gives us more than an answer ever could.

Why are you being so confusing?

I’m being quite straightforward, actually.

You’re creating a mess of an argument for something that should be quite simple.

Oh, it is. You’re the one that’s going on and on about death.

You started it! You said there wasn’t much to you.

No—I just continued what you already started.

And what is that?

A miserable fascination with death.

Which we can’t know anyway.

Right.

Which we should leave alone.

Probably.

And let be—or not be.

Something like that.

Something like that?

I don’t have all the answers.

But you’re death! Shouldn’t you know what you’re about?

I can talk to the dead about death, but not to the living. What do I know about life?

There’s just no understanding is there?

If by understanding you mean control and knowledge, then no. We’re both up a creek when it comes to that business.

So, if dying comes and I know it leads toward death, how do I prepare myself—and those around me—for what inevitably follows?

You humans! Dying is a liberation. The most you can do is let it be—and let those who are dying freely embrace it. Stop trying to get them to cling to the joys of life.

And what about me?

What about you?

What am I supposed to do with my suffering, knowing that someone I love is dying?

The only reason you mourn death—such as you know it—is because it means you no longer have control over their life, and are ignorant of where they are going.

Is that wrong?

It’s not about right and wrong, questions and answers, life and death.

Oh? What is it about?

I told you, I don’t know.

Is there no satisfaction in trying to find out?

There never is.

Death?

Yes.

Will you be around forever?

As long as necessary.

What does that mean?

I don’t know. That’s a question you have to answer.

Oof.

I wish what they say is true.

What’s that?

Ignorance is bliss.

Ha! If by bliss they mean a fact of life.

And death.

Ah yes, and death.

 

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