It is Friday, April 5, the day that Kurt Cobain put a gun to his head nineteen years ago and decided to pull. It is Friday, April 5, and death surrounds me.
I am on a bus on the way to school, listening to Nirvana’s In Utero on my cassette player (as a sort of tribute to Kurt) and staring up at the grey-coated sky through the window, which is stained with patches of moisture from the light rain. One of the characters in the book that I’m almost done reading is having a prefuneral-he is dying of cancer, and wants to attend his own funeral, so he gets his girlfriend and best friend together and listens to their eulogies devoted to him. A small part of me finds this narcissistic, but as I think about it, the entire concept of viewing life after death and the world existing without someone is too much to handle.
There is a specific sadness associated with death. It’s intertwined with a fear of oblivion and knowing that something inexorable exists, no matter how much we don’t want it to. Both living forever and dying are horrible in their own ways; there is no complete solution, which makes it worse.
A while ago, I experienced the worst form of dejection that I have ever known. It was a time when I feared death yet never stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want anyone around me to die. While my other friends who battled with depression sought solace in suicide attempts and thoughts of ending their lives, I could only live, which I found hard to do when thinking about the future. It lasted for a few years, going on and off until I met with my school’s guidance counselor about it. It stopped after that, and now, for a few moments, it reappears. I cannot help it; I cry. I cry for Kurt. I cry for the character having the prefuneral and everyone who will have to eventually wake up in a world without him. I cry for the fourteen dead people that exist for each one of the living. I cry for the living as well, for having to know that this thing called death exists.
“Look on the bright side, suicide…” I cry even more, thinking about how Kurt Cobain must have felt in those final moments. Did he think about how that final second on Earth would feel? Did he think about what would be waiting for him once the gunshot penetrated his brain?
The book that I was reading talked about leaving behind a legacy. When we die, who remembers us? When they die, too, are we lost, our ashes claimed by wind and blown away from existence? Did Kurt wonder if almost two decades after he died, people would listen to his music and cry? I can only wonder, like I do with everything else, as I step off the bus and into the rain.