Tuesday, June 01, 2010

memento mori

One of the best moments from Buffy has been running through my head all week . . .

. . . from The Body, after Buffy's mother dies:
Anya (crying): But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's, there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why. (She puts her hand over her face, crying.)
Memento mori, "remember you must die." Found in Buddhist and especially Christian art—ranging from Day of the Dead images to Puritan America, Medieval Europe and beyond—writing, painting and sculpture and pop-culture attempt to help us cope with the puzzle that is mortality:
Vita brevis breviter in brevi finietur [Life is short, and shortly it will end],
Mors venit velociter quae neminem veretur [Death comes quickly and respects no one],
Omnia mors perimit et nulli miseretur [Death destroys everything and takes pity on no one].
This is the first stage of grief, I think, just accepting the jarring interruption of death into your daily routine. The routine becomes shattered, as you cope and try to deal with the sadness of the loss of the loved one. The only thing that can bring back a semblance of your previous normal existence is time and remembrance and more time.

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