Last year a classmate, who I admired hugely but never became very close to, very sadly passed away. She suffered an anaphylactic shock at an 18th birthday party that I and much of our year was at. The following week was filled with rumours, hope, sadness, and thinking. I found out with 5 of my classmates on a trip to Paris that her parents had decided to turn off her life support machine, as it was highly unlikely she would come out of the coma that she had been in for what seemed like the longest week ever. I can’t claim to be able to pay Nat any where near the tribute she deserves, and if you would like to hear her story told by those who truly knew her please have a read of these two posts:
These two posts have been published quite recently, and as is inevitable they have got me thinking about death. Whenever I think about the subject my immediate reaction is to cry. Whether I’m reading the death of a character in a book; thinking about my Nana, who sadly passed away before I really had the chance to get to know her; or reading about the closest death I have experienced, in Nat’s terrible case, I automatically tear up. I am a bit now just writing this post. When we were told about Nat’s death I cried, comforted others, and then just sat and thought about the unfairness of it all. There I was in Paris, in my favourite city in the world, and Nat was not. She could never be again. And that was simply a fact now.
What I find most terrible about death is not to do with fear, or loss, or the hope that a sort of afterlife/heaven/ whatever you might call it exists. It is the sheer inevitability. Because whether it happens when you’re 18 or 80, death happens. We cannot, despite the hopes science might be giving us, prevent death in the foreseeable future. For some this creates a crushing sense of hopelessness, for others it gives them the push to take that leap they’ve been thinking about for weeks. For me it gives a great deal of perspective to life. Right now I am not doing the essay I should be, or reading the text I need to for tomorrow morning. But that is ok. Because ultimately not doing those things now won’t kill me. A bus might tomorrow morning on the way to my seminar, or I might get the cancer that killed my Nana, or I might live till I’m 90 and then it really wouldn’t matter at all. The thought of death makes me appreciate the now, the present, the fact that I am able to think, and speak, and live however I choose to at this moment. And at this moment I choose James Blake, my blog, and discussing Masterchef with my friend on Facebook.
Thank you for indulging my evening’s rambling. Please do read those tributes to Natalia. She was a wonderful person, and would have had a wonderful life had she been given the chance. All that can be done now is to remember her as best we can, and I am very glad that her close friends remind me to do so.