(Originally posted on old blog on February 9, 2010)
So here we are on the 9th, two days away from D-Day, and I can’t help but notice how Death keeps finding ways to tap me on the shoulder and announce its presence. It’s not that the Grim Reaper is searching for me – at least I hope not – it’s just that Death keeps trying to remind me that it’s part of life.
The best analogy I have is the common phenomenon that follows buying a new car – you might not have noticed many of your make and model on the road before you made the big purchase, but now that you’re driving your new wheels, you see your car EVERYWHERE.
Such is the case with me and Death, and I am not just referring to all of the wakes and funerals I’ve been to in the last year (as I mentioned in my post, Shocked Into Functioning).
Death’s first appearance was more of a cameo. The day after burying my father, my sister needed a break from the doom and gloom, so she proposed going to the movies. Always one for a good diversion, I went with her. We picked the most light-hearted, brainless movie out at the time, He’s Just Not that Into You.
About 30 minutes into the film, the main character’s father collapses to the floor with a heart attack. My sister and I looked at each other and said out loud, “Are you serious?!” In the movie, that father lives, which for me only highlighted the fact that ours did not.
When I went back to my classes and work at BC a couple weeks after the funeral, without fail, the radio on my commute played Death’s personal soundtrack, with T-Pain’s Dead and Gone a frequent track. Disturbed – less by how bad the song is and more by seeing the words “Dead and Gone” displayed so boldly on my radio screen – I remember changing the station, only to get Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone, followed by The Doors’s The End, then U2’s With or Without You, then P!nk’s Please Don’t Leave Me, and finally – no joke – Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door.
“All right – I give up! I get it!” I yelled.
Death doesn’t always slap me in the face, though. More often than not, it creeps up on me.
Last night, I was reading this month’s book club selection, This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, and Death made another appearance. Granted, I was the one who chose this book, but I did so thinking it would provide comic relief and a nice change in tone from the last couple months’ books, which have been more serious.
Amazon’s “Best of the Month” from August of this past year, the book promised to be “laugh-out-loud funny” and “compulsively readable,” and so far, I don’t disagree.
But apparently I skimmed over the basic premise too quickly for it to register: the book centers on a dysfunctional family whose atheist patriarch’s dying wish is for them to sit shiva for him (the Jewish ritual of sitting in low chairs for seven days to greet mourners).
In a nutshell: lots of Dead Dad stuff.
I suppose others in my shoes might find this annoying, even heartbreaking. Some might think it particularly morbid for me to be reading such a book on the eve of my father’s one-year anniversary.
Always able to appreciate the bizarre, my father would have laughed.
So that’s what I do. Sometimes, things are too absurd not to.