I have looked death in the eyes few times. For others but also for myself. I have been often told that there’s no God and no afterlife, but folllowing my encounters with death I guess I am too convinced of the contrary to listen to those sceptic voices. I do respect what other people think, but respecting others will never reduce my beliefs to nothing, on the contrary.
Most of the people have an absolutely disgusted look on their face when they hear about death. Some venerate it. Some fear it to the extent that they don’t even want to think about it. We’re all aware it exists. Most of us cannot understand it. But the same death that means decay, foulness, nothingness and still, is part of us just as much as it has been part of our ancestors too.
People turn their face away from death because they are scared or because they have been taught that it can bring disease or that it is unclean. Or because they prefer to concentrate on the life, rather than see the whole process, black and white, doing and undoing, life, death and new life again. For the immediate you and me, what matters is today, what we do, what we have, what we eat, where we go. But we live in a society that is equally one of death as much of one of life, isn’t it? Or maybe even more one of death than one of life? We eat meat, we cut flowers, people hunt, people get cremated and buried or offer their bodies to science. People sell weapons and wars are being fought. Some people thrive while others starve to death.
There is not only the beauty and goodness daily put on display for sales targets, but also the reverse side of it all. There are not only new born babies and blooming flowers, but also dead people laid to rest and entire systems that revolve around death itself. From the undertakers that earn a fortune while dealing with grieving families to the little beetles that eat decaying flesh, all have a little part in it.
Some of the birds that have nested last year have died, and a suite of insects and plants contribute now to taking apart and redistributing every material atom of them. Every little creature and plant that dies gets quickly surrounded by a cortege of creatures, just like a circus that comes to town and gets very busy before the show. Behind the scenes of it all nothing gets saved or lost, but everything is transformed in new matter for life, and so new life can find the raw minerals needed for it to emerge again.
Many years ago, as I was dealing with the water that was trying to find its way into my lungs, I had forgotten who I was or what I wanted from life. What I had eaten that morning or what I had in my bank account had no meaning at all. It was all worthless and the only thing I could gasp for was a breath of air. I was, I guess, not different than a wounded bird that beats its wings one more time before it takes a last breath. A little part of me knew that it could have been the final moment that day. And yes, it was scary. Scary because I had no idea what was about to happen. Horribly scary because I had no control over my own life. There and then I was not ready to give up. Between few heartbeats and a hope for air it occurred to me that I had not appreciated life truly until then. And God how I wanted to live!
In a mysterious way, a hand has been stretched my way. Not only a friendly material hand, but also a divine one. Then, when I finished coughing, with a horrible salty aftertaste and a stomach full of seawater, feeling sick and wet, I thought that it was not the time to go just yet, not until I would have learned the lesson of what life was all about. I think I was determined to take life more seriously.
I think I understand life and death more now, but like any person that has been sightless for many years, I am now awfully blinded by the intense light of the truth. That moment of salvation, the spark of life in my veins and the thought that accompanied them cannot be the result of an evolutionist theory, they are rather a mystery that my human mind is not ready to embrace just yet.
Other creatures are unaware of the realities of our human life. Birds and animals and plants cannot understand our complicated life and needs, our food, our languages, our customs. They do not consider themselves the greatest in the universe like we do. They have no idea what mathematics or science are, yet they are very much alive and lead a simple happy life. There are a limited number of neurons in our skulls, how could they possibly perceive the infinity of the universe? It is impossible. I am convinced that us humans cannot understand the whole complexity of life, all the dimensions that surround us, all the beauties of the universe and even less the mystery and greatness of the Creator of it all.
900 words, Adela Galasiu, 2016
Photography: Adela Galasiu, May 2016
“Yes, It isn’t always wise to say
that the muses get silent among weapons..
My words are here and I hold them
as you would hold a spear.
Mother, forgive me, I couldn’t otherwise.
I know you’ve been quiet all life
and I should have , maybe, done the same
but out of our silence
a scream had to gush oneday
and here it is, filling up my mouth with hope and tears
and with a sunny sadness
that is mine, I’m not sure,
mine or my grave’s. But
this has almost
no more importance at all.”
Octavian Paler, Poems
“Da, nu e întotdeauna o înţelepciune să spui
că muzele tac între arme.
Cuvintele mele sunt aici şi le strâng
ca pe o lance.
Mamă, iartă-mă, nu puteam altfel.
Ştiu, tu ai tăcut toată viaţa
şi ar fi trebuit şi eu să fac, poate, la fel,
dar trebuia odată ca din tăcerea noastră
să ţâşnească un strigăt
şi, iată-l, îmi umple gura de speranţă şi lacrimi
şi de o tristeţe însorită
ce-mi aparţine, nu mai ştiu,
mie sau mormântului meu. Dar
aceasta aproape nu mai are
nicio importanţă. “
Octavian Paler, Poeme
Translation: Adela Galasiu
Mass of stone
as my night falls
dreams of memory, dreams of life
travel through my frozen mind
a solitude greater than life
as I lay down and
die for another night.
Phot: google, Ben Gossens
After 2 months of waiting here is the episode where I had the honour of sharing my story too. My contribution is dedicated to my beloved father, Ioan Galasiu and to Gershwin’s beloved Rhapsody in Blue. Many thanks BBC Radio 4. Adela Galasiu, 2014
As I lay down in the darkest night stars circle over me.
Purple-green waves crush on the air shores
And the frost bites deep in the stone of my core
Petrified, inert, forgotten, wearing deep inside
The runes left behind by your loving touch.
No caress left to touch me, gone is your summer,
The dragonfly of your soul has long forgotten me.
Visions of light sparkle weary in my mind
As I fade in the endless dream
Of your warm finger drawing circles on my frozen heart.
Her arms open like the wings of a butterfly as she draws colors nobody has ever lived. People pass her by, but stop for a moment to see the shade of sadness hidden in her broken gypsy smile. People come and go while she imagines universes turning round and round like ticking clocks spinning in the tip of her lost apostle finger, while she tries to recreate out of color and dust the lost paradise. Lost like her thoughts, lost on an island that she never reached, a place where her heart would find finally a breath of rest.
Her dress, her black dress, she hated it so. She hated how it made her feel. She hated how he made her feel. She hated all she tried to be for him. She hated that she loved him. She hated to see him write about that dress, using her presence as an inspiration for his stories and phantasies, while she was bleeding inside. She hated him and all the women he was talking to, she hated him with the same passion she has once loved him. Her dress was black that night, mourning for her broken heart and wasted love.
I have died one night. I have only died so I can learn how to fly. And my greatest dream was to fly over the sea to you. On the beach, where you lay your body and shadow, I rest my head next to you. I try to feel the warmth of your bare feet but I can’t anymore. I try to lay my body next to you, but you don’t even see me there. Yet I look at you, breathing and gazing far away, and the light that fills up your soul flows through me too. And I smile.
300 words, memyselfandela – August 2013
When you read someone like Troy you can’t help but be amazed by the ease and complexity in describing the most intense or painful moments. I have been mesmerized by his cool view on life. So me, dreamer and poet , I could only try to imagine that someone like him would consider writing by my side. It started as a thought, then it became a dream, then a request and then it ended up like a post forged by two minds and souls. I am honoured by his grip on reality added to my dreamer perspective.
Here’s the Duet, actually “The Letter”. And I invite you, after reading this post, to follow As Long As I’m Singing, the awesome blog belonging to an even more awesome Soul, Writer and Father: Troy.
doing so, It once again did what It shouldn’t have done in the first, and glanced at the letter once more.
You have waited for me an eternity
Trying to see me in a million faces
Yet you never could, for it was not the time for us.
Tonight sleep peacefully knowing that the nightmare is over
And that I am on my way to you.
Tomorrow, when you will open your eyes
You will see my eyes mirroring you.
No pain, no chain, not even Death
Will stop me this time.
I thought I saw you millions of times
In millions of lives, my Love.
But every time I lost the illusion
Like a smoke scattered above the frozen waters of my broken heart.
For you were nowhere else but here all the time, waiting for me.
Tomorrow, when you will open your eyes
We will finally start to live.
Let the past die and rise from this tomb of agony
For Tomorrow is here
And I am coming.”