Memento Mori

Curtis - Williamsburg, Virginia
Entered on April 24, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death

I am close to the grave. It is often considered taboo now to think about death in a contemplative matter on day-to-day issues, but I nonetheless believe and strive for an understanding of not only my mortality, but the nature of those who have already passed on. In this belief I strive to find a special kind of appreciation for how short and otherwise meaningless my life would be if I didn’t understand what it meant to live, and to die. I do this also in memory of my grandfather.

I make it my business to visit graveyards. I do not venture into such macabre settings for the usual reasons one might expect. I sojourn to these places as a memento mori, or a reminder of my own existence. Included along with not only my ancestors, such as my grandfather, there is the countless thousands who have gone before. I think about my grandfather who passed away two years ago and consider his life in a nice little snippet of the human expanse and ponder if I would like to take from his example, or rather to go off in another direction.

It is my perspective as still living to look at how each one of them died. Each person wants to make their death as meaningful as possible. I would personally prefer a rather slow death myself.

I am planning on bringing death back into the sphere of closeness. I will live by such a thought so that I never forget those who came before. Also to never forget when it is my turn to join them. I find it hard to think if any of my acquaintances have even seen a dead body, despite the fact that everyone we know will die one day.

Now I do not mean to take it as a depressing thing, for I find death to be something to rejoice about. It is the ultimate expression of human individuality and our own natures. Our death is our own, our name is upon it. We will die, and when we die we will be alone even if our closest friends are right their with us. Yet this aloneness shouldn’t be taken in with fear, it should be taken in with pride. When I die I am going to be smiling all the way as I go.

So I live my life, day to day, waking up and thinking if it will be my last. Not to feel sad or scared, but to be comfortable with my surroundings, to enjoy every last thing I do from the time I get up from the time I go to sleep. So I would kindly stand beside death and encourage others to do the same, so that we can look back on life with an eagerness to live and to love.