It is fair to state somewhat euphemistically that death is an inconvenience for everyone. In respect of my kind and me, it causes all manner of problems and issues which are especially irksome. Death generally only affects people in two respects. Their own death and the death of other people. Our responses to those two aspects are far-removed from that of the reactions of ordinary people and especially those of an empathic nature.
First of all, how do we regard the death of someone else. The demise of a stranger causes to response from us unless we realise that in order to maintain the façade that it would be advantageous to say “the right things” and come out with those empty platitudes that people do so often when they read of a tragedy somewhere. When this happens and somebody makes mention of some loss of life, perhaps the drowning of a toddler who was not being properly supervised and fell into a bath or the consequence of an aeroplane crashing, I observe the reactions of the collective with interest. There are the expressions of shock, the declarations of horror and how this is such a terrible event. As I watch and listen I do wonder who the greater charlatans are in this event. Is it me who does not care and cannot care but pretends to do so in order to maintain my precious façade or is it those who claim to care about somebody they never knew and would never have known?
If the death of someone is closer to home, a friend or a family member then my reaction is no different save that it is laced with irritation and indeed often anger at the loss of someone who was a source of fuel for me. If that person forms a supplementary source, then there is irritation at this loss but this person can readily be replaced with a new member rising to form part of my coterie. If the person who has been lost to the hand of the grim reaper is a primary source of fuel, then I am consumed with fury. How could this person treat me in this fashion? I gave them everything and then they leave me in the most complete fashion, with no chance of that sweet, sweet restoration. This departure amounts to a criticism of me, a reminder that even someone as great and powerful as I was unable to prevent the removal of a potent source of fuel. Thus this criticism ignites my fury and I rage at the injustice of their death. Some who witness this might mistake this response for an outburst of grief at the taking of this person. It is not that. It is the explosion of wrath at someone who was so potent to me escaping me and thus denying me my rightful fuel and denying me the opportunity to put in place a replacement. I do not mourn their passing away. I rage at the passing of my fuel source.
Do not expect to see me attend the funerals of those that are regarded as supposedly close to me and where my attendance might otherwise be expected. I will not be there. I know there are those of our kind who revel in the drama and the high emotion that is attached to a funeral and regard it as a honey pot for the acquisition of fuel. There are those of our kind who will hijack the occasion and make it all about them, wailing and shedding those false tears in order to draw well-meant sympathy from the other attendees. There are those of our kind who will create a scene at the funeral, arriving late, arriving drunk, collapsing part way through the service, making a snide remark in a loud stage whisper in order to draw reactions from everyone else that is there. Yes, many of our kind will attend and exhibit their over-acted grief purely to draw attention to themselves and away from the person who is now lying in the cold, hard ground. Our kind will express their huge sense of loss, how the deceased was such a wonderful father, caring mother, beloved uncle or best friend. Such a shameless performance which is carefully choreographed in funereal black to maximise the opportunity to have the spotlight shine on them and thus drink up all the attendant fuel. A disagreement will be provoked with another family member and harsh words exchanged. Over the top blubbing will take place with cries of “Don’t leave me!” as the coffin is lowered. The occasion of death and the attended ceremony provides a wonderful stage to our kind to perform our sick routines to make it all about us, fashioned from the pretence of actually caring. We do not care. We cannot care. We resent the fact that this person has escaped us. We resent the fact that everybody is turning out to pay their respects to the deceased and not training their attention onto us which is where it should belong. Should you ever witness melodrama at a funeral do not mistake it for the exaggerating effects of grief and loss, you are observing one of our kind milking the moment for all it is worth.
That is the response of many of our kind to the loss of a “loved one” or a “close friend” who has passed away after a full life or taken too soon. It is not my response. I have only ever attended one funeral in my life and that was the funeral of my father. I only broke my own protocol to do this as a consequence of the diktat from my mother and also at the behest of my younger brother who begged me to accede to her request so that she would not erupt and undermine the occasion of our father’s death. I duly obliged, just the one, purely in order to satisfy my desires however. I wanted to rein in my mother’s theatrics and watch how she really responded to the death and subsequent committing to another place of my father. You may well have read elsewhere in my works of that particular day. That was the only time that I have attended a funeral and I did it to further my own understanding and in order to loathe in my own private way the way my mother was behaving. That gave me tremendous satisfaction.
Thus, I only broke my protocol of non-attendance once and shall not do so again. Why is it that I will not attend funerals when there is such a prime opportunity to take centre stage and draw greedily on all the available fuel? It is a simple reason enough. I will not attend funerals because I do not wish to be reminded of my own mortality. Like a medieval monarch who stayed away from funerals, even of the preceding monarch and his own wives and offspring, because it would cause others to contemplate the death of the current monarch, something which was treasonable, I too will not attend. I have no desire to contemplate my demise. I do not want to recognise that one day all of this must end for this offends my notion of omnipotence. I do not wish to linger at the edge of the abyss that is life, staring into the nothingness of oblivion. Such is the finality of the mortal end to one’s existence, it engenders and raises the very prospect of that extinction that I fight against each and every day through the acquisition of fuel to maintain my construct and keep myself from being consigned into oblivion. To contemplate a mortal death is to invite the horrifying reality of the extinguishing of who I wish to be and that which I must not let happen.
I do not fear my mortal death for I will have my legacy in place and thus I shall live on through that. No, what I would rather not be reminded of, through the occurrence of the passing of others and the subsequent surrounding ceremony, is that I sometimes teeter on the brink on annihilation. The thought of that fills me with despair, only for myself and therefore I choose not to engage in that which will so forcefully and rudely remind me of it.
I know death embraces all eventually. I am not a foolish man and that is why I have worked to secure my legacy so that I may out stride death.
I care not, save for the loss of my fuel, when its cold hand snuffs out the life of others. Our type does not mourn the death of others. We are unable to do so. We are not equipped to achieve this. Never expect any sincere mourning to ever be evidenced by our kind.
I care not to contemplate what mortal death signifies for me in my ongoing struggle to keep such annihilation at bay.
11 thoughts on “Death”
Interesting article. As for this statement:”As I watch and listen I do wonder who the greater charlatans are in this event. Is it me who does not care and cannot care but pretends to do so in order to maintain my precious façade or is it those who claim to care about somebody they never knew and would never have known?”- There are people who are genuinely able to sympathize with others whether they knew them or not. It’s called compassion HG 🤦♀️
I am in awe of your simple written clarity with brutal honesty on this specific topic. Very humbling and grounding, HG! Grateful always.
strangely, my death does absolutely not bother me, i’m not suicidal or do i wish to die, if i’m in danger i will do my best to save my life, but the idea of me dying or desappearing does not suscite any emotions within me, but imagining the death of one of my parents or loved ones is just horrifiying.
i refrain from adopting an animal just because i’m affraid they’d die on me.
I felt nothing at my father’s funeral. Nothing. I didn’t know why. I hate it when people die in my work and families grieve. It’s very raw because it’s usually sudden in my work world.
Your dads need for control is glaring. It never ends no matter what circumstances.
There aren’t many situations where we can’t exert control but birth, length of days and death are among them
Slightly veering off topic but related to the circumstances surrounding death, what I find really creepy is that the narc would use informing me of someone’s death who we had known in common, but neither of us had seen in years, as a Hoover. ( is anything off limits?). It’s hard not to respond to an email message that someone you knew in common in the past is no longer with us. In one instance I responded with a remembrance of the individual and was sorry that I did. This opened me to the usual potential chain of email rubbish. So, the next time I got an email about a death, I didn’t respond. He didn’t like this and sent another email stating, “I know you knew her”. I let it go.
Thank you for the warning about the Death Notice Hoover!
I’m terrified of death. Thanatophic through and through.
Unlike you though, the deaths of other people who are close to me upset me greatly.
As for strangers’ deaths, I have cried at some before and felt genuine sorrow, but only when I can relate to the situation. A child’s death, for example, upsets me a lot. I nearly lost my own son 2 years ago so that has never left me. I can put myself in the shoes of the parents.
The deaths of celebrities have never moved me to tears, but sometimes I’ve contemplated on how it’s a shame that the world has lost a talent from it.
Despite the thanatophobia I’ve attended five funerals in my life so far, and I shall be at another one on Wednesday. That’s far more people lost from my life than I care to think about.
Perhaps we’re alike in some way, both fearing death.
Hmmm… how oddly convenient
I am surrounded by death it seems a lot ,caring for the elderly as a nursing assistant. I have never had anyone pass while I was directly caring for them. But I have been with some hours before death, sometimes days before. At first it was difficult but as I have seen more it gets easier to deal with. Some are so sick they are ready to go, others know they have lived a good life so death is easier to come to terms with.
When my mom was dying I never saw my MR dad shed a tear. Not even at the funeral.
After her death he would say he was grieving but I never saw it.
During my mom’s last few days I was at her side almost constantly. My dad was normally out in the hallway of the hospital.
At the funeral my sister had put together a collage of pictures of my mom with different close family members to display by the casket. I was not in any of the pictures. My sister’s excuse was she couldn’t find even one picture of my mom and I together. This sounded like BS to me. I’m sure my dad had something to do with that or he at least knew since my sister was staying with him at the time. She always has been a complete suck up when it comes to my dad.
Candacemarie, I am sorry about your experience with your dad and sister at the passing of your mom. My dad was a narc as well, so I understand what you mean. But, could it also be that your sister is a narc as well? She could be taking after her dad, hereditary you know!?