It is always a little strange to credit or quote yourself. To claim something as your own idea or philosophy. I will do it now though. One of my ideas and philosophies in life is “that you should do death well”.
A colleague took a photo of the Flag on the West Tower
Yesterday morning it became clear that the mayor of Amsterdam had passed away. We had known that he’d been sick for months, and he also recently announced he abdicated. The death was no surprise. Yesterday morning I learned the news because a friend posted: ‘An Amsterdammer has passed away’. The rest of the day was quite emotional, even though I didn’t really know a lot about the man, it was touching to see, every hour that I would climb up the tower where I work that more flags where hanging half post, acknowledging the loss. Soon people would come into the tower almost angry demanding to know why we did not have a flag yet. And soon there was someone to indeed put a flag on the tower. What does one do when someone passes away? With public figures like our mayor, loved like our mayor, the memories are recounted. The documentaries shown again, the friends interviewed, and I, who knew little of the men except for his name, and his illness, investigated. It is strange how when celebrities die you all the sudden get to know them more than you did when they are alive. Honestly, since it is such a tradition to show an elaborate documentary on television when someone passes away I once wrongly assumed that a person in a documentary had died.
Going trough the material to be found online about this man it is almost strange to think he has passed. Getting to know the things he did and said, and being so insprired by them, gives more a feeling of making a new friend than saying goodbye. In my personal life, with different losses, I have also experienced this, although different as well. Death for me causes a clear vision on the life of the one who has passed. And, how I loved them. Death, as final as it is has taken another persons life, and at the same time, I feel, I should do death well. There is no better moment than death to say to life: “You know what, let’s just look for a second what you brought us”. The emotional rollercoaster, however unexpected, is something I unapoligatically step into. Life might have a tendency to get in the way, but death breaks open the road, to truly look at what it means to be alive. Doing death well means taking all time for all what’s going on- the love, the despereration, the crying. the writing. The watching, the looking and the thankfulness for life- the hope that the life and the vitality of this person brings beyond death. The strange solemness of grief.
The being set back and eyes opened and filled with tears, a heart with a crack so the lights comes through. There is not such a thing as no grief- and with grief I mean any emotion inspired by death and loss- there is only post-phoned grief. One of the things i greatly apriciate in life is being emotionally sabotaged, lack of sleep, for instance, sometimes helps me connect to feelings that i could otherwise not reach. Death is the ultimate emotional sabotage- the very essence of life unhinged- you might as well take advantage of it. You might as well do death well.
The being set back and eyes opened and filled with tears, a heart with a crack so the light comes through. There is not such a thing as no grief- and with grief, I mean any emotion inspired by death and loss, there is only postponed grief. One of the things I greatly appreciate in life is being emotionally sabotaged, lack of sleep, for instance, sometimes helps me connect to feelings that I could otherwise not reach. Death is the ultimate emotional sabotage- the very essence of life unhinged- you might as well take advantage of it. You might as well do death well.