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Beauty in Death

Written by: Pedro V. Dutra

From: Brasília, Brazil

Edited by: Carla Turbides

I believe in the beauty of death. I know this may sound contradictory given the socially constructed idea that life is beautiful, and since death is the opposite of life, it is subconsciously perceived as awful. In reality, death is beautiful too, people just avoid talking about it. Birth is the beginning; death is the end. Still, both are part of life. When I was little, I would always worry that if my mom went out she would die, very dramatic, but it was the truth. One day I came to her and said, “Mom, aren’t you afraid of something bad happening to you, what if you die or something?” She smiled a simple smile and said, “What if I die? I’m most certainly NOT afraid of that.” After a while talking to her about it I finally understood, what is the point of life if there’s no end? 

You see, life is about living every moment as if it was your last, a constant adrenaline rush that forces you to keep going even when you are out. On the contrary, death is the final point, it is a big red sign in the middle of your road forcing you to stop. People see that as a weakness, as a hazard, as something to really be frustrated about, but in reality, even according to the great philosopher, Socrates, “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” Although death makes that vivid radiant rush go away, it simultaneously creates the entire significance of living. One of the things my mom taught me is that there is no true value in living if there is no death; there’d be only existing through a melancholic state; where everything is monotonous and nothing ever changes or progresses. If death didn’t exist we’d be stagnant, living without an objective, swimming in an ocean of untangible possibilities, letting the world flow freely at a rapid pace while we are paused. Existing without death is “living” inside a bubble. 

To know that it must end, that there is a stop at the end of the ride, like Atwood once said, “It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.” This is what makes life so valuable, even though there are so many bad things, these are the things that force you to keep moving forward. If life was perfect, no misery, no death, you would live in paradise. There would be no story to tell; no purpose; no journey. The purpose is to impact people around you while you can; to love, live, laugh, do it all while you can — because — there will be a time, where you can’t spread your word anymore, can’t laugh, can’t smile, can’t cry, just can’t feel, or live. Everything has a last time: last time you hang out with your high school friends, last time reading a book, last time laughing — even a last time seeing your mom smiling a simple smile. I like to think that if I was about to die, I would smile, a simple smile, just like my mother used to do, and my heart will rest in peace. Finally, in the abstract form, the goal of life may be to die but let a piece of you live forever.

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