Thursday, January 24, 2008

Glorifying Death.

There has been a spate of teenage suicides in the UK and at long last one paper has actually touched on something that I have long thought.

A reverence of mumbo jumbo has a lot to answer for, and one of those things is our attitude to death. This is something I've noticed more and more over the last few years.
We glorify death, we make it seem romantic, tragic and airy-fairy. No one is ever dead, they're sleeping, they've 'gone back to god' they're 'angels' they're 'legends', they're 'at peace' they're 'looking down on us from heaven.'
You know what? They're not. And we need to stop pretending they are.
They're dead and any potential at a life has died with them. They are corpses. They are rotting under the ground, worm food, decomposing, empty shells, everything that they once were, what they they could have become, died the moment their heart stopped.
Dead. Over. Finito. Gone.
Suicides, especially teenage suicides bother me the most and it's time we called a spade a spade. When a teenager kill his or her self this is what happens.
They will never laugh again, they will never celebrate another birthday, they will never go to the cinema again, they will never go for a walk on a beautiful frosty morning. They will never watch CSI on a friday evening eating popcorn. They will never have a gossipy bitching session with friends again. They will never be on Bebo again. They will never go to another concert. They will never buy that dress, that play station game, a new car. They will never go on holiday, get sunburn and drink too many cheap cocktails. They will never read a beautiful novel on a rainy winter day. They will never eat Malteasers and Vanilla ice cream again, never drink a good glass of red wine. Never lie in the arms of a lover, flushed and grinning, easing the cramp out of their toes.
All of the fantastic moments life can provide will never be realised. They will lie cold in the grave, over, done, forgotten about. And yes, we do forget, memories fade, the sharp pain of loss recedes. We remember the dead in an abstract way, but out of sight and out of mind. We, who continue to live, will grieve for who we lose, we will mourn their passing, but we will live, we will get over it, we will experience everything life has to offer us, good bad and indifferent. we will live on, we will have moments of high joy, and boredom, and grief, and delight, and anger and frustration and every other emotion that ONLY the living enjoy.
The ridiculous overblown nonsense posted on condolence sites is -in my view- an insult to life. Take Kath French's tribute page. Here are a few examples.
"Katy, may God bless you and keep you in his care. I can only imagine how you look now, more beautiful now that your an Angel...'

"RiP Katy Happy 2K8 even if its a lil late Hope ur bein looked after well up der Always in mii <3 xXx

"katy i never new you in person but your death has really saddend me . i hope one day when it is my time i'll meet u lot..."

"kathy u were a true star whogot the chance 2 shine on earth now shine in heaven!!! we all make mistakes but who are we 2 judg..."

See what I mean? You're in heaven, you're shining like a star, anything but what she is, dead. Can you imagine a vulnerable teenager reading that tripe and thinking ' look at the outpouring of love. if I killed myself I'd be famous, people would care. I'd get a tribute page. I'd make an impact.'
It's bollocks of the ugliest order. We need to stop trivialising death. No disrespect to clever teenagers, but a lot of teenagers are dolts. They look at things like this and inexplicably are mightily impressed.
Listen up kids and would be suicides. When you die you will never ever have another chance to make your life better, you will never become anything other than a corpse. Life is fleeting, is is fragile. Fight for it, make it your own, don't ever give up. Live it. Enjoy it as best you can and remember one thing, on your blackest day, wait, hold on, give it 24 hours, maybe the next day will be better. Maybe you can make it better. Call somebody.
You will never be an angel, you will never 'see' your loved ones again. Words on tributes pages are just that, words, they will never replace true love,a family, a beating heart, a future.
Fame is fleeting, death is eternal.
There are no second chances, this is not the time to gamble on an after life.
Make a good choice.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cant hear me but I am applauding that.. very very well said.. Limerick Guy

12:13 p.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

You speak the truth FMC, a very good friend of mine took their own life a few months ago, I don't know why he did it, no one knows why, his family are fucked now, his girlfriend is in total rag order and is blaming herself for it even though no one person could ever cause someone elses suicide, I miss my friend every day, there are times when I go to call him because I need him and I forget that he is gone, but there is one thing that I cannot do, and that is forgive him for leaving us all like that, in such a horrific fashion. His parents went to his apartment to see if he was ok because they hadn't been able to contact him for a day or so, they must have known that something was wrong anyway, and they found him, hanging, he had been there for a day or so. How horrific for the people who brought you into this world to see their baby like that. It's the saddest thing ever to see. He is not an angel, he is not any of the things that people say about the deceased, which is why I couldn't bring myself to go to the cemetary where he was buried.

12:32 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Very well said FMC. That should be posted on all feckin teenager's bebo / facebook /porn / goths-r-us / websites. Selfish little hoors (No offence Babs)

12:40 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Thanks Limerick Guy.
Sorry to hear it Babs, his poor family.
Sheepie, we need to be less sensitive to people's out-pourings and more pro-active in showing the mess left behind. And also to drive the message home that you only have one life, if you end you don't get a second chance.

12:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

No offence taken Sheepie - as I said I can never forgive him. It is the most selfish thing anyone can ever do, there is always another option.

1:12 p.m.  
Blogger The Bad Ambassador said...

Very well said FMC - particularly in relation to Katie French.

Those BEBO comments and John Water's "I cried" article bordered on hysteria. I can understand why people might not wish to speak ill of the dead - but that doesn't mean you should blow the positive points of their life out of all proportion.

In addition to hearing her described as "Our Diana", somebody on RTÉ said "She was ahead of her time". How? By wearing a bikini in Grafton St. in the middle of December?

1:26 p.m.  
Blogger Glinda the good witch said...

FMC hear hear. Excellent point about mumbo-jumbification of death. Religion started it, new agery, angel-believing, and all that lark perpetuate it. Plain facts are as stated by you - Death is actually the end of living, and you do not transmogrify into anything other than worm food. I'm 100% with you.

2:19 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

we lost a close friend not too long ago to suicide - no one knows why he did it - his parents received his suicide note in the mail so it was too late to do anything.

it ended up pointing a bunch of us in the direction of the alive campaign

death is over-glorified... and i always found it haunting that in many cases people who attempt suicide realize at the last minute what they're doing and try to reverse it (hospital, etc).

3:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I think a lot of us have been touched in one way or anther by suicide. It's a fucking horror for those left behind. It can destroy whole families.

4:47 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

I dislike all that angel talk intensely. Death is ugly, it oozes and stinks. Suicide is damaging beyond belief. But teenagers particularly, with all that raw, keen pain and sensitivity are susceptible because, in relation to the rest of a person's life, I think there's a good case for saying that teenagers can be temporarily insane for a few years. Romeo and Juliet myths don't help.

I think the true suicide is so far beyond the kind of rational thought most of us bring to the argument that pain and a profound sense of their own worthlessness can lead them to truly believe they are making things better for other people - not worse. It doesn't make any sense but any force that can over-ride the deep, inborn sense of self-preservation is a force capable of twisting logic and compounding misery to a degree we can't fathom. Because these people are sick in their heads - their heads don't work. It has nothing to do with actual circumstances, it has to do with perception adn seeing the world through a glass fractally.

Yes, suicide is selfish - monstrously because the sick self is monstrous and unnatural but the same self is the only place some people are living in and can even see.

People have every right to be angry with suicides, and would-be suicides, although it is the easiest thing in the world to kill yourself if you really want to; anybody determined will do it however they can with little thought to how painful or ugly it is. They're punishing themselves, they want the pain. But just because the suicide suffered does not negate the suffering of those left behind, it only compounds it. We don't live in bubbles - we all affect each other but I think suicidal people do live in bubbles, distorted and painfully twisting. I think they are selfish in a way that selfish is the only language they know any more - they don't have the capacity to think beyond themselves. They are mentally very ill. They are out of sync with the rest of the world - they don't get that there is no bubble.

The people I despise are less the poor sods who do it and more the people who play games with it, who weaponise it. They damage the people round about them more than they know and as such are like a disease to their loved ones. You might as well thrash a razor around in a room full of loved ones as be a half-hearted suicide. The half-hearted suicide is selfish but not to the degree where they cannot perceive other people and the effect their actions have. These are the wicked bastards in my opinion. The one with one eye on the pill bottle and the other on the telephone. A determined suicide only sees the pills.

Right. That's my morning's tuppenceworth. Now I'm off for the FBI's third attempt to find my fingerprints so I might become a citizen. Wish me luck and good ridges!

5:12 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Good luck Wonder Woman!

5:21 p.m.  
OpenID bendersbetterbrother said...

I don't think that has much to do with it FMC. I think anyone who kills themselves, properly, not an accidental get-attention, help-me attempt gone wrong wouldn't be put off by the finality of death.

In fact I think they truly understand the finality of death, that's why they want it. They feel alone, isolated. They don't have a connection with anyone else. They might not know how to have a connection with anyone else. Invariably they've usually been feeling that way for a long time and they can't see any way in which their circumstances and how desperate they feel will change.
It's this desperation that causes the suicide. It's a relief, no more pain, no more feeling the way they do.The finality of death is the answer for them.

5:23 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Well said, FMC.

When the subject of suicide comes up, I always recall Ed from "Northern Exposure" telling Joel that Indians never killed themselves because it was impolite, and a matter of going somewhere when you weren't invited.

Teens can be exceptionally emotional and passionate about what is going on in the moment, but they need to be told that they are not the best years of your life. Someday soon you'll get to move out on your own, get a job, and have more control over your life. Being a teen sucks, but it doesn't last all that long in comparison with the rest of your life.

6:35 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

God I loved Northern Exposure. Even thinking about it makes me think of hot chocolate and jammies.
BBB, I know what you're saying, a truly depressed person, suffering untold misery will do a very definite job of ending it all.

6:45 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

I failed again! I don't know what I'm doing to have such crappy fingerprints but now I have to go and get a letter from the police saying I've never been in trouble.

Mein Gott, I've just looked at that incoherent ramble I dashed off earlier and if any of you made head or tail of it you're doing better than me.

6:55 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Perhaps all that typing has worn out your fingerprints.

6:59 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Could be Twenty, could well be, but its me thumbs too, see. Where did I leave my fecking fingerprints?

Maybe they were stolen. Of course, only I could get away with such a crime, having no fingerprints and all. And I'm sure I didn't do it. I was at the movies that night.

7:40 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I keep telling you Sam, you're like Wonder Woman. Tell me this, when you twirl do you suddenly find yourself in a totally different but fantastically spangly outfit?

8:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

it's a bit of a problem actually. if Sometimes if I just turn round too quickly I can find myself standing in the supermarket with just the one fabulous boot, a tiara and a pair sparkly knickers on over my breeks.

8:45 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Problematic if you're in the frozen food section I'm sure.

8:56 p.m.  
Anonymous laughykate said...

Life goes on. Death doesn't change. And it tends to be really fucking boring for everyone else.

10:59 p.m.  
Blogger Rusticissimus maximus said...

Hmm, I have to agree with you about the whole 'cutesy-wootsey' attitude that prevails regarding death. Solely the Victorians' fault I might say.

Before them, people had a common sense approach to death and dealt with it in a practical, realistic way. Headstones would simply read, "Name. Born X, Died Y." End of. Then they went and brought in fancy headstones and drippy soppy epitaphs etc...

This has really left a bigger legacy on the popular psyche than most people would imagine...except obviously you since you posted about it! *Bing* Kudos FMC.

11:02 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

honestly i think thats the stupidist thing i heard glorify death no one glorifys death only in the army the way u make it seem as if everyone's so naive I'm not trying to argue with you but u shouldn't form things in such an arrogant manner i mean i understand your point but it's not as simple as to say look at the world has to over and think it over for some people their's no enjoyment in life not everyone's the same some wanna fuck some wanna drink some wanna read some wanna work some wanna destroy some wanna live some wanna die

7:49 a.m.  
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