Don’t die on my watch. Fear of death – I’ve witnessed too many.

If you die tomorrow let me die today.

Corpses don’t feel, do they? I will no longer be able to feel the pain of your non-being. It is safe; I die (first) and I am saved from the grief of seeing you not there. Knowing you will one day die is bearable. Living the day you have died is not.

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Robin Williams didn’t require my permission to end his life

I usually eschew rampant topics as it is in my nature not to tackle the issues that tend to build into fiery fighting rinks. I dislike discussions emerged simply because they are popular at a certain moment in time. I shun association with the masses.

This time, however, I’ve surprised myself as pressingly satiated with talks of the death of Robin Williams. There are voices that exonerate his choice in front of his accusers. Those are the people who can ‘understand’ and ‘feel rather sympathetic’. I have also read fragments rebuking cowardice, irresponsibility, selfishness. These are the less compassionate, who are ready with answers for whatever question imaginable in their hidden holsters – the strong and powerful ones. I have perused psychologists’ articles on the possible depression he might have suffered from, the feelings of alienation and abiding encumbrance he must have surely been driven by.

I am simply astounded by the amount of writings ranting about Robin Williams’s life and death. The positive thing about suicide is that decision is made and action is taken by one and the same person – it is the only type of death in which humans actually have a real say about their departure. Robin resolved to commit suicide and he succeeded. He established a course of action, took matters in his own hands and stopped breathing. Why would he need any type of unacquainted voice to explain, accuse or condemn his option? What gives anybody the right to discuss his alleged feelings, needs, desperation or fears? Why exactly would people need to ‘take sides’ on the matter?! Why is it even a matter of controversy and debate?!

There are several simple facts: Robin Williams was a brilliant actor, an accomplished and outstanding artist; he seemed a pleasant, smart chap; he is now dead. The only manner in which our lives are influenced by this piece of truth is that we will not see him play new characters.

He was not our friend, our confidant, not even our neighbor. He was the actor, we were the audience. We liked or disliked his acting career. Robin did not rely on his fans to help him with life decisions, I am quite certain of that. He surely never asked ‘Guys, what do you think I should do?’ or “Do you agree with my finding?’

Personally, I loved him for two films in particular, One Hour Photo and Good morning, Vietnam and I honestly believe he should have been cast in more roles, in fewer comedies and that he deserved more screen time. What he lacked was a majestic role to crown his imperial acting career. But that is just my personal opinion on the only things I genuinely know about him.

I have no idea what his life was like, what his dreams were or whether he enjoyed his work. I have absolutely no clue as to whether he was a loved husband or an adored father. I have no proof that he was a happy or a dejected man. And I don’t care about any of that information. It has zero impact on my life. On my personal development. On my commendation of him as a paramount actor. We never shared a cup of tea, we never chatted over the phone. I haven’t passed him by in the streets, I haven’t shaken his hand, read any interviews or desired to meet him in person. I have no knowledge of him as a real person and I need none. I am fully delighted with his filmography.

There are no judgments to be expressed. We are no longer contemporary with Robin Williams. That’s that.



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Meditation by comparison

Paper towel rolls. The moment I open up the plastic foil that keeps the two or three rolls together, I feel happy. As if I was allowed to witness a beginning. A deflowering of sorts. I am granted the favour of being the one to decide when to tear the package open, when to set the twin rolls apart. I am like an all-powerful being who decides the fate and the life length of the paper towel rolls.

When the first sheet comes off, I feel happy. I peel off gently until the adhesive is conquerend and I avoid wasting even the very first one. There is happiness when the roll is allowed freedom – the illusion of freedom and the reality of the loosening of the pressed paper. I am always glad at this time and it feels like a small inner party begins, with fireworks and cheers.

After the first few towels are used up, I realise my exhuberance diminishes and my fits of jubilation get shorter and shorter.

With every single sheet I pull off the roll, I feel sadder and sadder. Reaching the cardboard core is not the joy I am looking forward to. It is the climax I shun. Yet, I am always aware it is coming. However, when my fingers hold the last piece of the roll there is a huge jumble of sensations. The one that comes initially is despondency. I am partly angry, partly dejected that the fun has come to an end. It’s a parting I’m never quite ready to make, a good-bye I’m never ready to utter. On the other hand, I also feel enthusiastic since the end of one roll coincides (usually, but not always) with the beginning of a brand new roll. The prospect of a reiterated joyful experience glimmers in a muted light and my senses are tingled into unexpected and unlikely cheerfulness.

Strange enough, what I feel about paper towel rolls relates to what I feel for the people around me. I am happy for every moment, day, year and decade we get to share, for every joined happening. I count the years that pass by and I fear the inevitable. I appreciate more and more the persons who are close to me and when I love them most I am more afraid than ever for what might wait in check just around the corner. The older my family members are, the more I love them, the more careful do I handle them. When I witness their finaly moments (as I have been seeming to do so far) I see them light and fragile and I feel vile and menacing. There is joy in the fact that I believe they have ridden themselves of their earthly burdens and I hope they get to relish an unknown well-worth life. And at the back of my mind there is always an afterthought than when one passes away, another is born and thus the balance is never tipped over. When one mourns, another cries for mirth.

The blank paper towel rolls of our lives unfold and we press them into new shapes, we crease them into confused bundles of uncertain value. Some of us are not allowed to reach the cardboard core and a number of sheets are left fluttering in the wind. Some of us are superficial and we tear off too many sheets at a time and we hurry ourselves towards the end. Some of us just stain the surface and leave the paper behind. Some of us, though, manage to make crafty origami of our feeble existence sheets and then beauty is avaiable to others as well. Some of us manage to improve the life of the twin rolls and we are therefore worthier.


The reality of man

The body stiffens upon death. Hard evidence. Before our eyes. The person was truly there, real and true. And now genuinely gone. Feel free to touch the body in order to be persuaded. Life is hard evidence with a smootch touch, death is hard evidence with an uncomfortable feel. What is left to the imagination is everything in between and around. And that’s probably the best that could be given to us as humans.

Footsteps in the Sand

Walking around the beach

I discovered a track of footstepts in the moist sand.

I followed slowly, pressing my own soles onto the visible marks,

the track leading towards the water.

Was it a man looking at the sun?

Was it a lady who wanted to run free?

Was it somebody born by the sea trying to feel again the smell he first smellt on his birthday?

Was it a criminal washing away the blood on his hands?

Was it a monk seeking salvation?

Was it a raver moving to the beat in his brain?

Was it a mother hoping to forget the death of a daughter?

Was it Jesus hoping to get at least one follower?

I entered the water, I let my skin be smacked by the cold waves

and when the water went over my head I forgot all questions.