Tag Archives: Death

An Open Letter to my Dad

Hi,

24th December 2005 to 24th December 2014.

9 whole years and counting.

It’s been a long time, dad. (The only way I can use that word anymore is by writing it because I certainly can’t say it to anyone else.)

I thought you’d be curious about what’s been going down here. We’ve got phones with as many megapixels as your old camera that you used to take family photos and preserve memories with. In general, 3D movies have gotten better. You missed Inception and Interstellar and I think you would have liked the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie just as much as the first. My Play Station 2 has remained boxed up for years, not so much fun to play without you in the living room. Things are not the same.

After you died, Molly wouldn’t come out of her cage for months, making me realize that birds grieve just as much as their human counterparts. Poor thing didn’t know what happened and now I am twenty years old, questioning religion, resenting my luck and catapulting into a quarter-life crisis, feeling like maybe I am the one who does not know what happened. Molly must have forgotten while I continually remember.

I seek comfort in imagining the afterlife. Yours. If Albus Dumbledore was indeed right, that to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure, I am sure yours is just that, perhaps more.

Now tell me…

what am I missing?

Love,

An ever grieving daughter

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Trigger, Trigger Pull

In the hallway, twisting

Cold, cruel metal, waiting

For the turn of a knob, opening

inside to see a face, trembling

as it cocks, dead centre, aiming

between eyebrows, steadying

the hand holding death, pulling…

The shot rang.

Pull, pull, the trigger had called

And I did as it said, killed

An enemy or friend, destroyed

with it my innocence

My morality

My self

Blood stained the shoe prints, leaving…

A single bullet, two deaths

A gun, once the trigger pulled, kills two.

The one before it and the one behind it…

I killed.

I changed.

I died.

Paint a hospital with the colours of life…

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”

 -Oscar Wilde

 

Take a book featuring a hospital scene and flip to that page. One word that is guaranteed to describe the daunting experience of diagnoses and tests is white. White walls, white halls and white coats…

Hospitals are blanched of colour just as patients and their families are of hope. Their minds are poisoned with misery and the upsetting fact that change in the worst possible way is imminent and unstoppable. They do not want walls of white around them.  I know this because when my father was in the hospital,  I did not take comfort in them. Although I never asked him how he felt about those walls, I think he must have hated them as much as I did, if not more.

When I was hospitalised as a kid for amoebiasis, my room was as colourful as it could get, butterflies, green fields, the works. Now that I’m older, if I were hospitalised for the same, I’d be stuck in this boring hospital room fit for ‘adults’. I’d like to redefine what it means to be an adult. It means to be human. If asked, I would still want a room that’s painted with the colours of the wind that Pocahontas sings about because life is full of shades and tints and god forbid, if my last days were to be spent in a single room, I’d want it to be visually loud and reassuring.

I need a rainbow.

Everyone needs a rainbow. 

Think about it. Would you want to be surrounded by a blank canvas or a finished masterpiece?

I vote for the latter. In times of sickness, white reflects our helplessness. Sap green, teal, violet and a plethora of others don’t.

White walls are blank spaces. They make you feel like something is missing and we don’t need to be reminded of that. We need to be reminded of what is good in life and that even if we’ve lost someone, some of those good things are still left to be appreciated. And if you’re leaving this world, you need to know it was good and that you made your mark because…

You’re a colour in that rainbow. A shade no one else can replace in their palette. Because I believe when we are born we are a blank canvas and all our life experiences and the people we meet, hate and love more than anything in the world create a masterpiece that is you.

You are colour to each person. Perhaps yellow to a friend. Blue to an enemy. Purple to your mother. Orange to your father. Red to your sibling.

You’re a colour. You’re anything but white.

But sadly those hospital walls are…

And I think that needs to change.

Day 5: God’s Garden

Prompt: Post a poem (written by someone else) that you love.

God’s Garden

God looked around his garden

And found an empty place

He then looked down on this Earth

And saw your tired face

He put his arms around you

And lifted you to rest

God’s garden must be beautiful

He only takes the best

He knew that you were suffering

He knew you were in pain

He knew that you would never

Get well on Earth again

He saw that the road was getting rough

And the hills were hard to climb

So he closed your weary eyelids

And whispered “Peace be thine”

It broke our hearts to lose you

But you didn’t go alone

For parts of us went with you

The day that God called you home

 


Found this poem in a funeral home and wrote it down on an old receipt when I was eleven years old. Eight years later I still have it.

The Best and Worst TV Death

I’ve just finished watching the third season of Homeland the finale left me emotionally tormented. I always sympathised with Brody, a pawn in the CIA’s plays and Abu Nazir’s terrorist plans, unable to be his own person and as result of all the secrecy and his double agent routine, he lost his family. And sadly, I don’t think they know he was not behind the Langley bombing neither do they know about his tragic demise in Iran.

Yes some can argue that he deserved it for being a converted terrorist but he did redeem himself and after everything he’d gone through in his eight years of capture and simultaneous torture, he never had a chance to be more than his suffering. His character was flawed and intriguing, yet left undeveloped beyond his role as an asset to the CIA. Had he survived, what would he have done? Would he have raised his unborn daughter with Carrie? Would her life have been different or would she have gone on to be station chief in Istanbul anyway? Whatever it was, he would have been alive to figure it out.

I cried for a good half of the show, feeling the impending tragedy that was his public hanging. The beautiful thing about Homeland is the non-cliched plot and dialogue. The scene where Brody is being hanged and Carrie watches atop the climbed fence was heart breaking. And when she drew on the star because of the Director of the CIA refused to commemorate him on the same wall as the other demised CIA agents hit hard.

 

It was the perfect ending to the third season. So many questions troubled me and I genuinely spent half an hour in silence after watching the finale, too lost after Brody’s death.  The Homeland I loved was always synonymous to Nicholas Brody, how do I watch the 4th season without him?

That is why the death of Nicholas Brody was and always will be the best yet worst TV death for me. The best because of the way it was written in the show for no other show could have such an intense death scene and worst because I will truly miss Brody.

He was a tortured man who kept his last promise but was not given what was promised to him. Most of all he was not honoured the way he should have been by the agency and his death was on them. Yet no tears were shed for his demise (except Carrie and Saul who truly felt terrible about it). So I cried for him.

R.I.P Nicholas Brody.

And Damian Lewis is one of the most captivating and fascinating actors I’ve ever seen on screen. I have so much respect for him and I’m sad that I won’t be able to see him on the show anymore. He carried the show along with Clair Danes so I’m apprehensive how the dynamics will work post his characters death but I certainly don’t want anymore screen time to be given to Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody. I didn’t feel like she needed so much time in the 3rd season as they had given her, thus making the first half of the season seem sluggish for this and other reasons. Perhaps it was Lewis limited role in this season that made it seem sub par compared to the first two seasons. Either way I’m hoping the 4th season lives up to the fans expectations. It’ll be hard without Brody although there still is Quinn whose role could be solidified.


Yes I do connect and get attached to characters, whether they are my own or that of another it matters not, for though they may not be actual people in the physical sense, they have a cognitive and imaginative existence. I want to honour that.

And yes, I can distinguish between the actor and the character.

 

Part I: Our Island (In mourning eyes)

I write quite a bit about loss so I decided to make a series of three interconnected poems in three different peoples points of views instead of mine. Here is the first of them:


Our Island (In mourning eyes)

When I’d feel the weight on my shoulders

He’d tell me not to worry

Then spent the night making me smile

and laugh and forget the world

So we called our bed an island

In a sea of discarded take-out

and lots and lots of socks

Nothing else mattered

I smiled and laughed

and forgot the world

And I never truly worried

I did not worry when he began to cough

Or when it led to wheezing

And then one day he said

he wasn’t well and I

drove him to the hospital

All the while doing what he told me

Not to worry

And when he said his chest hurt

I didn’t know mine would too

Because now I sit upon our island

alone

Missing him so much

it hurts.

Camille

I’d entered a French creative writing event at university and won second place for a short story I’d written called Camille. Unfortunately, I handed in the story and didn’t keep a copy for myself so I thought I’d convert whatever I remember from it into a flash fiction.


 

Un homme, Monsieur Baudelaire, qui habite pres d’une boutique de fleurs  la visite tous les jours pour acheter une bouquet. La floriste lui reconnais et lui donne des fleurs-de-lis comme toujours et chaque jour, ell voit Monsieur Baudelaire marche vers sa maison. Mais elle ne sait pas qu’actuellement il va au cimitiere ou sa femme Camille reste. Parce qu’il ne peut pas oublier.

The Book Thief Review

It’s quite funny how I came to possess my copy of The Book Thief. You see, I was gazing longingly at it in my favourite book shop but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money on me to buy it. A few days later, by some odd miracle, my friend gave me that very book saying someone on a British Airways flight had left it behind and her aunt who works for the airline had given it to her and she in turn gave it to me.

All in all, it ended up in my hands… so thank you kind stranger and good friend.

Much like how I received my copy, The Book Thief tells the tale of Liesel Meminger,  a young girl in the throes of Nazi Germany who finds reconciliation in the form of books she happens across or happens to steal.  A dangerous habit to culminate in the country of book burnings, Liesel keeps her interest in books a secret. Yet it is a secret she cannot keep by herself.

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”- Death

 

An omniscient narrator in the form of Death oversees the story of how the nine-year-old’s mother gave her up to live with her foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Molching. Shortly after, Hans discovers a book she’d kept for herself called the Gravedigger’s Handbook and he teaches her to read it. And so the secret was kept by two.

While starting her love affair with the written word, Liesel befriends a boy named Rudy Steiner, who always cheekily asks her for a kiss. Rudy provides a comic streak to the narrative with his obsession to be like Jesse Owens and it’s no wonder Death was particularly amused by this little boy to the point where it hurt him in the end.

“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.” – Death, talking about Rudy.

With books and some street football, it seems like Liesel is finally settled into her new life, only to be shaken up again when a Jew named Max Vandenburg, son of Hans’ deceased friend comes to stay in hiding in the Hubermann’s basement, threatening every souls safety below that roof. This is where the story really takes off. It touches upon hard times, sickness, snow and most of all, love and friendship.

Author Markus Zusak executes this style of writing with beautifully crafted sentences, reading like poetry.

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”

What makes the book unique is that although it is set in the time of Hitler’s regime, the story gives little overt importance to this fact. Also, for once, it does not take a Jewish German’s point of view, rather the other Germans who were also adversely affected, people who are often overlooked when portraying the Holocaust.

Overall, Zusak’s  critically acclaimed masterpiece has been well-recieved by critics and USA Today even went so far as to say, “The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank“. However much I like The Book Thief, this statement adds insult to injury to Anne Frank’s account of her experience in hiding. Although The Book Thief is artistically written, sometimes the gravity of the Holocaust and its times is lost and perhaps portrayed rather mildly.

If you wish to read a realistic account of the Holocaust, The Book Thief is not your cup of tea but if you wish to read a refreshing and ficitonal perspective  of this period of history, then please go ahead and get a copy (however you can).


 The Book Thief Movie

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

As always, the book is indisputable when compared to the motion picture adaptation  but having said that, the film does the book justice and the cast is impeccable in their portrayal of these heart-felt characters. Go ahead and watch it once you’ve finished reading the book!