A note on death

This death was like no other. It was not to be mourned, for a start. Instead, it was to be celebrated.

Each death is different. How silly it was for us to imagine it like a black curtain, beyond which our eyes can't see, but what must come at the end. But always black, always pulled with a string by an invisible hand, and it is always the end.

But, as I say, all deaths are different. Some in certainty, some in suddeness. Some distinguished by its ease, some tortured by its pain. Some of these mark a definite end, but some begins the trail.

Trail? Of death, or of celebration? Well, a trail, let's say at this time - a journey - as in Dante's Inferno, some deaths are the beginning of love. Yes, love - because love begins in separateness, to end in oneness. Death is the final separateness, to be matched only by another death to oneness.

Why am I so down tonight? Or am I drunk? Do I see the end of the road to think about death? But I am saying death isn't the end of the road, but a beginning - of another road, perhaps. As if when the curtain falls, the actors become real men and women, smoke real cigarattes, make real love and live a real life. Our senses can't reach there, but this we almost always knew - they were acting when we could see them, and real now when we can't.

So, what if death is suspended, let's say in a country, what happens? That's the story of Jose Saramago's Death at Intervals. Must read, as with all Saramago books, because in this uncannily witty story, the funeral director loses his job and the Government tries to legislate in the post-death society. Only when the PM makes the announcement that Death has finally taken its leave, death returns - this time with an arrangement to send a letter, a week in advance, about its arrival. Of course, that arrangement worked out conveniently, till one of death's letters got returned to her.

So, sometimes, death is to be laughed at, being absurd, well, almost. Read it.

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