On Death

Cat Out of Hell - Lynne Truss

Speaking of literature, since Mary had died,  there were two lines from Hamlet that I found I couldn't stop thinking of. One was "How all occasions do inform against me," and the other was: "And a man's life no more than to say one."  I know it's fashionable to think that Shakespeare was not personally bereft when he wrote Hamlet (or that he didn't need to be),  but I am positive, from that second line, that he was. Since Mary died I have looked at people bothering about ridiculous things and I simply cannot bear it. How can they be ignorant of the fact that – in a second – we are gone? 

 

 Any sort of cruelty or stupidity dismays me. And as for being conscious of the fragility of existence, one morning, as we walked to the newsagent's shop, a cyclist on the pavement shot past Watson, narrowly avoiding him, and instead of yelling in outrage, I just went to pieces. I had to sit on a bench at the bus stop and hold the dog in my arms until I stopped shaking. 

 

Here is the truth about life's fragility: one moment you are a witty female senior part-time librarian of 53, clearing weeds from the side of the garden path, and the next you're nothing but clay. One moment your heart is beating in your breast; the next it is a mass and bloody muscle, inert and dead. One moment you can say the words "I am."   And the next, you have no first person, no present tense and no entitlement, as a subject, to act on verbs of any kind.