It's such a pity I have to die

I'm still exploring the topic of death in literature. I referenced two ideas I read here.

But today, I'm thinking about death as a nostalgia for life and the living.

In one of my favorite novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Márquez wrote:

Death really did not matter to him but life did, and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear, but of nostalgia.

But who truly gets to harbor this longing for life? Is it a feeling exclusive to those who have reached life's highest summits, or can even the most troubled souls feel it too?

In his Nobel Prize Lecture, Jose Saramago describes his grandmother and grandfather:

Sitting one evening at the door of her cottage where she now lived alone, staring at the biggest and smallest stars overhead, she said these words 'The world is so beautiful and it is such a pity that I have to die' She didn't say she was afraid of dying, but that it was a pity to die, as if her hard life of unrelenting work was, in that almost final moment, receiving the grace of a supreme and last farewell, the consolation of beauty revealed. She was sitting at the door of a house like none other I can imagine in all the world because in it lived people who could sleep with piglets as if they were their own children, people who were sorry to leave life just because the world was beautiful; and this Jeronimo, my grandfather, swineherd and storyteller, feeling death about to arrive and take him, went and said goodbye to the trees in the yard, one by one, embracing them and crying because he knew he wouldn't see them again.

I can't explain why, but knowing that I can (and will) mourn and miss my life even if uneventful gives me some comfort. Ah death, what a great tragedy. What a profound loss. In all your forms.

Not a Rehearsal logo
Subscribe to Not a Rehearsal and never miss a post.