I have always imagined my death would be a little more romanticized. I have only ever seen myself dying in one way; with my cheek pressed against a cool block of wood, eyes shut tight and praying silently as the sword of the executioner swings menacingly downward upon my exposed neck. The shluck! of the blade and the flush of scarlet would be the last of my moments. I would take my leave of the world in grim determination to not protest the severing of my head from my body. But it would all be different if my my loved ones were to surround me, wouldn’t it? I cannot imagine my death in the same way if the people I loved were to leave the world in the same fashion. It loses all of its romanticism. The sickening terror of having to watch them walk up a scaffold, press their cheek against a cold block of wood and wait for the whoosh! of the blade as it meets the neck; ending a life, that I had loved to no end, in one fluid motion. So instead I imagine it differently:
In the house where I took my first steps, where Winifred ate her first Grasshopper, and where Mary and Anastasia put balloons inside their shirts and pretended to be pregnant, is where we would congregate. The lights of the house would blaze brightly through the open windows, penetrating the silently insidious night. Wrapped in the warmth of the light, we would all come to rest the way we did when we lived in the old house. Anastasia, would be swaying in the kitchen to the melodious music of Billy Joel, Def Leopard, Queen, and all the others bands played perpetually throughout my childhood. Laughing in the way that I have long since missed, she would be weaving through the kitchen, throwing this and that into another flawless meal, while simultaneously whipping any challenger at a well won game of cards. Jack, in a tacky and scratchy sweater, would be pouring over a game of Chess while absently smoking his father’s tobacco pipe, the smell of which would perfectly mingle with the smells of a succulent, well-prepared meal.
In a Australian accent interspersed with James Bond and Indiana Jones impersonations, Achilles will make his rounds challenging someone to a fight and lightening the mood with well placed jokes. Holding onto the idea that she has an angelic voice, Winifred will be butchering some classic rock song while simultaneously retorting, red faced, to Achilles jokes. BB, melodramatic as ever, will be keeping a watchful gaze on Katie and James while cackling about old stories as she recounts them- as usual no one will remember these little bits of our childhood. Sarah, legs tucked beneath her as she sits haphazardly in the flower chair, will be choking with laughter at Achilles and Winifred’s red faces and cracking voices. And Mary will be lounged across the flower carpet in front of the old battered T.V. trying to chime in, but making little if any sense, as usual.
I will be perched on the old wooden kitchen counter, soaking up the last few moments or hours of what life I had come to know and love. Joining in just as absurdly, singing along with Winifred, indulging in a wrestling match with Achilles, laughing at Mary’s nonsensical words, an dancing about the kitchen with Anastasia. And that’s just it isn’t it? Everything seems so much more beautiful when an inevitable doom lies so close by. A perfectly, undeterred bliss; one where the joining of family is chaotic, but happily so. As we gather around the table that bears the marks of lives that were worth living, we will clasp hands as we always did and say blessing. “Pass the teeth, through the gums, look out stomach here it comes!” and “God bless the cook, the provider, and all that’s eating, Amen! Dig In!” will be echoed around the table. Reminiscing in the years of our childhood and enraptured by the stories of Anastasia’s and Jack’s past, death or the end will be minor. In the end the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Isn’t that what it is all about? Living on after death? And as the last few moments wrap their tendrils around us and swaths us in its glow, we will remain as we always have; laughing and merrily finding humor in the others embarrassment.
“Do not pity the dead. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”
Based off the Daily Prompt.