Something I’ve never shared with you guys is a weird addiction I’ve had surrounding death, which started a few weeks after I was widowed several years ago. If you asked me for a reason why I started, I’d say I just wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone.
I might as well just come out and say it: I’ve been obsessed with death and everything surrounding it. There have been times where I’ve spent hours watching videos of people dying. Hours clicking link after link, each one taking me to some new horror: Here’s a man putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger; I see blood pour out of his nose and mouth like a faucet turned on full. His white shirt turns red in seconds. Another link takes me to a video of a beheading, where a man’s screams turn to gurgles before falling silent as a machete removes his head from his body. Another video shows a group of angry people in some part of Africa burning men and women alive. They keep kicking them back into the flames until they stop trying to get back up. One man submits to his fate and I watch his skin char and peel away, exposing pink flesh underneath.
A slew of suicides. Violence, hard to comprehend a reason for. Murder, up close and personal in the era of camera phones and surveillance streams. All of these video clips sought out by a girl who desperately wants to desensitize herself to her past. A coping strategy that, rather than hiding from it, brings death front and center and stares it in the face. No death is unique. It’s an inevitable part of life for each and every one of us. After watching thousands of people meet their end, it’s become apparent that no death is special or more tragic than another. Life is life. Loss is loss. Whether you get sucked into a jet engine or bleed to death from a fatal stab wound, the end result is the same. People will mourn the ending of your life, and for those closest to you, it will be earth shattering.
Has subjecting myself to this morbidity helped me in any way? It’s hard for me to make that judgement. I do know that it has provided a sort of comfort during some dark times, but I don’t believe I’m desensitized. Where Internet pictures and videos are concerned, I can watch anything without flinching or really reacting at all. While it doesn’t apply to real life scenarios, it’s disturbing to me that I can watch a video of a woman hanging herself and not be negatively affected by it. The people I see in the photo files and video clips mean nothing to me, aside from the fact that we are fellow human beings spinning through life on the same rock. When I look at their faces: the eyes, noses and mouths of people who had lives and loved ones, I don’t see anything familiar. They are just faces, but I feel a disconnected love for them.
It is only when someone close to you dies that the mechanics of death begin to suffocate you. You know what was lost. You felt them; heard them breathe. You had conversations and secrets. You knew what made them happy and what made them cry. You made memories.
I’ll never be desensitized to the icy sting of death. I no longer want to be, because that would mean I’d have to lose more people I care about. I’d have to keep losing them until I couldn’t feel anymore, and what kind of existence is that?