In my younger youth I saw loads of times The dark side of the Heart. It was charming to me to see a bohemian poet defending himself against the harassment of death with phrases from Gelman and Girondo, however clichéd they were.
I have probably forgotten several scenes from that film, but there is one that has earned a place of honor in my memory. It is about Oliverio asking death:
“Why don't you buy yourself a nice little dress and we'll go get drunk out there and I'll tell you those things that they never told you? If God exists he will forgive you, and if not, you live a little. And I would remain as the man who defeated her death making her fall in love with her. It would change the planet, and it would show that a bolero is much more important for the history of humanity than the Marseillaise or the international one».
I used to laugh thinking about the indignation that phrase would generate to a historian or a politician. Years later I read Eat Pray and Love, the autobiography of Elizabeth Gilbert, where she – among other things – tells the story of her friend Deborah, a psychologist who in the 80s provided assistance to a group of Cambodian refugees who had suffered the worst ailments that humans can inflict on each other. others: genocide, rape, torture, starvation, etc.
Before doing so, she asked herself a thousand times: How can I understand the level of suffering that they will narrate to me? To her surprise, there were other stories in the consultations: “I met a boy when he was in the refugee camp and we fell in love. I thought he loved me, but…”.
Just yesterday a friend told me that death and love have something in common: no one is indifferent to their arrival. I thought that is probably the biggest lesson of this pandemic, where both factors have made their biggest appearances.
Furthermore, we have all loved and been loved at least once and we have all suffered the physical loss of a love. However, we almost never talk about this. We are sorry.
Falling in love usually makes us ashamed because as Benedetti would say: “In love there are no ridiculous, cheesy or obscene postures. In non-love everything is ridiculous and cheesy and obscene”, and that makes us panic, especially those of us who try to keep everything under control.
Death also terrifies us. We know that it is the only sure thing we have, but almost always we try to run away from it, postpone its visit. Perhaps that is why sometimes he arrives and simply does not find us, we refuse to open the door to him, to the point that he ends up leaving… for a while.
I remember that when Vanessa, an old acquaintance, lost her husband in a car accident, she nearly lost her mind. In 2010, a kind of therapist invited her to try ayahuasca, as a way to "say goodbye to her, to her love" to her.
Vanessa was filled with courage and began a detox diet that would prepare her to ingest the concoction and "face the ghosts of yesterday". Narrating her experience, she assures that the process gave her a higher understanding of life, not necessarily to accept death, but to appreciate her own existence and be more considerate of others.
In total, she did three takes. In the first she worked on her feeling of abandonment (because her husband, although she didn't want to, had also abandoned her... just like her father), in the second her anger, in the third her insecurities. Then, she considered that she was no longer able or willing to go down that path.
"It was not easy. Each take involved spending an entire night working through tough experiences, dealing with negative feelings that you couldn't shake. It's a sentimental wallow that leaves you like a pig, because we are also people who make judgments, who feel envy, who criticize, who are jealous, who hurt, and self-cleansing of all that is very hard. They are constant bumps, ”she told me.
The truth is, his story "looks just like" the times I attend psychological therapy. In the last one, in fact, I brought up the subject: death. I have always feared madness and long and tortuous illnesses more than death. But ever since my dad was in intensive care I have found myself thinking “will I be prepared for such and such goodbyes?”.
My best friend would say that no one is ready for that "not even to be a mom." And she is right, but something can be done. For example, a few years ago I saw that an exhibition called The Departure Lounge had opened in a shopping center in south London, where a bunch of colorful posters invited us to think about our “last trip”.
In this installation, designed by the Academy of Medical Sciences, visitors were asked to ask themselves questions about death. They could be philosophical questions (Is there life after death?) or mundane (what transformations does our body undergo before losing its vital signs, how to donate organs or make a will?).
The goal was to start a dialogue on a topic that has become taboo in our society, but that we need to talk about. Finally, whoever removes and talks about death can take away his power over life and help us live it to the fullest.
Tell me your story, write it as it may, together we shape and share it. Spread the different forms of love, it is always necessary: [email protected]