Last Sunday, my reflections were all about thanking you, dear reader. As on any day of your visit, also today I have my thanks for you but also some thoughts on the relationship between love and death. Love – the essence of life. In the loss of which immeasurable pain rules, seizing the soul in its gradual death. At times, taking along also the remainder of the person, as my contemplations on three famous examples will show. All women. The biographical details on each are widely known. Therefore, I won’t bore you with a repetition.
“Modigliani”, the film begins with Jeanne Hebuterne before her jump to her death, asking, if we ever lived love, “real love” to the extent that we would “condemn” ourselves to “eternity in hell”. As she has:
In the film, “Sylvia” the poetess suffers immense pain grieving the loss of her husband to an affair:
Her repeated utterances, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die” foretell her dying into love before her suicide takes place:
In the same titled film, Camille Claudel’s destruction following the end of her affair with Rodin, for whom she is claimed by respected biographers to have been the muse, is very difficult to watch, for she is in infinite despair:
She doesn’t commit suicide. But also her life ends as she, too, dies into love.
Death. A topic requiring an open-ended discussion of phenomenal context. An attempt I won’t even pretend to be able to make. My only intent is to offer a definition of it through research compiled in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “[T]he irreversible cessation of organismic functioning and human death as the irreversible loss of personhood.”
An all-consuming love is what the three women of my focus had lived. How their “organismic functioning” and “personhood” had terminated in ‘irreversible’ manner, does not matter. What the loss of their love consumed off of them, does. I know for I have been there. Not once, not twice but three times already. After the loss of my first love. Following my mother’s death – by its encyclopedic definition. When I lost my late love.
As for my love for my daughter, my only child, my fear over my own death compares nothing to the anguish I feel and have felt since her birth for any hurt she may have to suffer. But, this issue deserves an entire reflection column all by itself. And I better get you to my conclusion for today. Namely, the following statements of fame attesting to the fact that there, indeed, is death for some of us before death – into love, of the heart/inside, of hope, of inspiration, of awareness:
“It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death.” – Thomas Mann
“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.” – Arthur Golden
“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives – the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself.” – Norman Cousins
“What is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.” – Albert Camus
“Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.” – Benjamin Franklin