I’m going to talk about a subject that may make some of you uncomfortable. I’m not even that comfortable writing about it, but it’s a part of everyone’s life.
There, I’ve said it. Yep, we’re all going to die. And I, for one, wish that I was the type of person that could stare death in the face and laugh ha HA…but unless I have one of those “never knew what hit him” kind of deaths, I’m probably going to be scared to death (ok, that was kind of funny…seriously, I wrote it before I even realized what I was writing).
Don’t get creeped out, but death has always been a bit of an odd obsession with me, maybe because I was introduced to it in a big way at a very young age. My father and my uncle, who was pretty much like another father to me, both died when I was 7, within about three months of each other. After experiencing that kind of trauma at such an impressionable age, other family deaths just kind of mildly phased me, some more than others.
You know how you sometimes do dumb things in junior high just so you can tell people about it? One summer afternoon, I was at the baseball diamonds with a few other neighborhood guys. We didn’t really have enough players for a game, so we were just batting the ball to each other. Right across the street from the ball diamonds was a cemetery. There was a funeral going on right at the edge of the cemetery so we paused to give the family a little silence. As soon as they all left, we walked over to watch them bury the guy. We asked if we could help. It was just manual labor to the guys with the shovels, so they quickly granted our request. I’ll never forget watching them lower the vault into the ground, and then hearing, “Ok fellas, put those shovels to work!” We couldn’t wait to tell our friends.
Celebrity deaths always fascinate me, too, just to see how the world reacts…and we’ve had quite a few high profile ones so far this year (just wait until we see the “Tribute” section of the year’s last issue of People!). The death of Davy Jones last week caused more of a sensation than I thought it would, and my blog about it generated some very flattering comments (thanks again, everyone). I guess losing a celebrity, especially one that has had a large impact on your life, is a lot like losing a family member.
Tonight, I looked at death from a couple of different perspectives. I didn’t plan my evening around it, but it just happened. First, I watched a movie that we had rented called “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” starring Jon Voight. Based on a novel by Mitch Albom, it follows an old amusement park maintenance man named Eddie who gets killed trying to save a little girl’s life when a ride at the park malfunctions. He wakes up in the hereafter, only to learn that he will meet five people who will help him understand some of the events that helped shape his life. Eddie had always planned to be an engineer, but he ended up taking his father’s job and never leaving Ruby Pier, where he and his father had both worked on the rides. He felt like his life had been pretty much a waste. I’ll have to admit, it was a very heart-warming movie that brought a few tears to my eyes at certain points, especially at the end (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it). The writer’s image of a heaven in the afterlife could only be described as paradise.
After the movie was over, I went downstairs to work out, like I do every night. While I work out, I watch TV, usually Family Guy or Big Bang Theory. Tonight, on the second Family Guy episode I watched, Lois wanted Peter to spend the day with her on their anniversary, but instead Peter tricked her so he could spend the day golfing. At the golf course, he was struck by lightning, and Death showed up. If you’ve never seen Family Guy, Death shows up about once per season. He is depicted as the Grim Reeper, but is kind of a regular guy (it was originally voiced by SNL alum Norm McDonald, then later by a guy named Adam Carolla). In this episode, he wasn’t going to take Peter because he was just having a “near-death experience”. As it turns out, Death is tired of living alone with his mom (“I wish my dad was still dead”), so Peter tries to find him a girlfriend. Yes, sometimes Family Guy is very irreverent, but shouldn’t we consider it someone else’s view of the afterlife?
Which one do you suppose is closest to the truth? I’m not even going to get into that whole argument, because that even creeps ME out. My mom was clinically dead during surgery for a couple of minutes, and she describes the place that she went as more the paradise-type place. I sure hope she’s right.
But I’m also going to get a chill if I suddenly hear a guy that sounds like Norm McDonald behind me.