My Grandmother on my Dad’s side died when I was about three. I don’t remember much of her besides the smell of cigarette smoke. My Grandfather, however, even now despite having a girlfriend (he’s a slick Gramps) still cries at every mention of her. An old man, his memories are like a book he can look through now being on the last chapter. And he still smiles and chokes up at parts long since written and finished.
This was something that weighed on me when I was a kid. After the initial fear we all experience when young concerning our own mortality I worried about the people in my life left behind. Now, this was before puberty so in my mind I saw all my family including parents and grandfather crying over the fact that I was gone. It never occurred to me that I might outlive all of them because hmmm I might’ve been a dumb kid. I would become terribly depressed in thinking how upset they’d all be. How neurotic can a kid be at twelve years old?
I’ve been rereading all my favorite Vonnegut recently, all of which came to me in rapid succession when I was fifteen. It was Cat’s Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Slaughterhouse-Five, which now are my three favorites in that order. Cat’s Cradle was and still is my favorite and I was very struck at fifteen while reading it when Vonnegut talked about a karass- a group of people cosmically linked without their knowledge and whose destinies are preordained to intertwine. He talks about an older couple called the Mintons who are a part of a duprass whose metaphysical grouping was just two. He makes mention that members of a duprass always die within a week of each other. And when the Mintons are about to tumble into the sea as the ground beneath them crumbles and cracks Vonnegut says “The image of a voyage seems to have occurred to the voyaging Mintons, too, for they waved to us with wan amiability. They held hands. They faced the sea. Out they went; then down they went in a cataclysmic rush, we’re gone.”
And how glorious is that? To be linked with one person, especially a person whom you love, so intrinsically that your very existence is tied to one another? The idea of myself dying at the same exact moment as the person I loved was a beautiful idea as a teenager. Now it seems pretty selfish considering how I treat my body, as it’d probably be dooming my partner to a premature death. Perhaps it’s too romantic to be possible. And too stupid. Like Romeo and Juliet. And too sad. Like Old Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows. Ugh. Never mind. I can’t even think of that book without getting sad. Like when someone mentions Event Horizon, but with watery eyes instead of shudders.
Oh man. Have you seen Event Horizon? Fuuuucked up.