“I will show you fear in a handful of dust”
~T. S Eliot.
I have no reason to contemplate my death. I am young of age and sound of mind, so I really have no business thinking of the macabre. No one talks about death to us as we grow up, except maybe in the abstract, offhand way meant to explain away the passing of a loved one when we are too young to deal young to deal with the facts. Not that we ever grow up. And yet we know death is gruesome. We accept that it is the unspeakable fate that awaits us all, the only certainty there is. So we conceal our terror of the unknown by casting the thought as far back into our subconscious as we can, only dealing with it when have to, when reminded that we are only mortal, and even then, it is with calm sorrow and tearful acceptance. ‘The Lord giveth and He taketh’. But the question of our own passing remains with us always, hovering, haunting, definite.
My knowledge of the workings of the law is less than I am willing to admit. So I have only the faintest idea of what a will is supposed to look like. I know I should throw in the words ‘of sound mind’, and ‘last will and testament’ somewhere, and that is the extent of my understanding. But intent does count for something. So here goes.
Like everyone else, I picture my death most dramatically. I will be in a high bed with silk sheets, surrounded with weeping women who quietly sob as they watch me die (the same women who will begin scheming to get my wealth before my body gets cold). I will be old and ill, having lived a long and fruitful life, and when I breathe my last, there will be a collective wail from my family, the earth will halt its spinning for a second, and the world will be notified that it has lost its most prized writer. And the streets will flood with women screaming in anguish and ripping their clothes off…
If, however, fate decides to have it some other way, there are a few things I would like to be known.
I love life, but I hate mine. Solitude and misery have long been my truest friends. There is a ten-year old girl in my mind that sometimes takes a hold of me and refuses to let go. I am extremely insecure about my height; I spent the first quarter of my youth willing myself to grow taller, and when I didn’t, I developed an irrational attraction to taller women. Further on women, despite my best efforts, I cannot fathom the theory behind thongs and g-strings. I am often angry, and I hide my anger best in sarcasm. I think I am hilarious. Music has shaped my life more than anything else. I have only ever loved once in my life. And I honestly think sex is overrated.
When I die, I hope the world remembers me. I hope my death will not sadden or distress, but that it will impact nonetheless. I hope my funeral is attended only by those wishing to grieve in earnest, and seeing as I own nothing of any value, I hope the remainder of my possessions will give solace to their next owner. I hope that I will die happy. I hope I outlive all my family members, because I couldn’t bear to burden them with my demise. On the section of dying wishes, it would make my stay in hell lighter if J. K. Rowling were to attend my funeral and say ‘a few words’, and if Coldplay or Paramore would perform the final song as I am lowered into my grave. And finally, it would mean a lot to me if, every once in a while, my dearest, my sweetest, would sit by my plaque and read me a poem.
T.S. Eliot rightly sees fear in a handful of dust. We are not afraid of death. Not really. What we fear, rather, is that nobody will notice when we are gone. I wish only to be remembered fondly, if at all.
It is thus, with God and man as witness, that I submit what will be my first will and testament. Signed, a troubled youth on his death.