And these milestones make me think of those for whom mortality has no pull--especially vampires, the fae, and other supernatural beings who don't need to worry about death and dying unless their heads happen to become separated from their bodies. I think there are two sides to this particular thought process--the pain of an almost endless death watch as supes love and lose their human counterparts (can you imagine what their Paint It Black evenings look like?) and the flip side of that pillow where no one ever dies and what that does to the whole circle of life concept.
I'm reading the last (until August when the actual last book will be published) of Jessica Sims' Midnight Liaisons series right now. And I'm giving serious thought to adding the termination of this series to my death watch list, I'm so sad that it's ending. This one focuses on Marie, who has a terminal disease and is seeking a vampire to turn her and make her immortal. But as she implements her plan for everlasting life, she becomes motivated to think about what endless nights look like without love and family, meaning or purpose. She's beginning to wonder if life is always the best choice. And it makes me wonder whether I would want to Paint It Black indefinitely and trade in my mortal coil for eternal existence.
I don't think so, in fact. Of course I reserve the right to continue with this train of thought and explore the implications much more fully down the line at some point. And to change my mind, of course, as is the prerogative of every woman. But at this juncture, I'm not at all certain I'd want to give up my sadness and the texture it adds to my life and my perspective. Nor do I want it to last forever, though, as immortality would require.
Death is a part of life, inevitably. It's frightening and often devastating for those left behind and those whose deaths come with a date certain stamped on the box, as when a cancer patient is given weeks or months to live. But it's something we all need to confront, both for ourselves and for those we love.
We can hope that the natural order of things is observed, as it is when our parents die before us, which has been my experience of the past year. But when the natural order becomes unbalanced, as when my teenaged children attended the funeral of a friend recently, it becomes much harder to accept and process.
But there is no way around the death watch except through it. We don't have Marie's option to seduce a vampire into making us one of its own, and there is no other supernatural get-out-of-jail-free card available to us. We all stop passing Go at some point, and none of us will collect our $200 when that time arrives.
So I'll crank up the Stones and I'll have a good cry, and I'll get on with my life. I’ll play “She’s a Rainbow” instead of “Paint It Black.” And maybe I’ll throw in a little “Emotional Rescue,” just in case.