Life & Death: the existential crises

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” 

Robert Frost certainly knew what he was talking about. I feel as if we, the general public, have become so desensitized when it comes to death because it is everywhere that we don’t even notice anymore. Mind you, I might seem off topic and running different paths at once, but it is all connected. Isn’t it? Death is everywhere in life. We survivors (used in its lamest form of the word) just have to keep moving on. Life doesn’t stop for anyone.

But do we move on too quickly? Do we even feel sad anymore when we see death on the news? Do we mourn for the lives of the innocent being brutally taken away everyday? The lives of children being so nonchalantly thrown away by their parents, as if a piece of trash. Does that not sicken-infuriate us? Is it simply because it is an almost weekly occurrence that it doesn’t phase us anymore? What about the adolescent, children, taking their own lives because they haven’t fully grown into the life they are meant for. A life that is too cruel to handle, they feel they must take rash actions to solve a temporary problem with the most permanent solution. Because their juvenile brains are fully developed enough to understand how precious their really is. Because they have no one to show them that it really can get better. Do we cry for them? Are we upset in even the slightest when we hear another soldier has lost their life while fighting for ours?Is a single tear ever shed while watching the news or hearing about these tragedies? Why have we become so immune to the sadness? Isn’t sympathy and empathy woven in our DNA?Is that not what makes us humane? Or is it more of a choice; a switch we can just turn on or off?

In my own personal experience, I’ve come to notice that I am not as moved as I feel I should be. I will certainly admit to answering no- I don’t cry or mourn for these lives ended. Am I shocked-by some instances, yes. Is it sad-yes. But to claim it takes an emotional tole on me would be a lie. And if you were to answer yes to all of the above questions you would be a liar. Because they’re strangers does that mean I shouldn’t care? Of course not. In my personal experience I feel that I have fallen in line with our society, and become desensitized with death, because it is so common. I’ve lost friends-family, and yet it is still not shocking or emotionally exhausting as it should be. I’ve lost two battle buddies down range (Afghanistan) fighting, deaths that couldn’t be prevented but slightly predicting. Their losses weren’t reported on the news. Maybe because there was something more important like Miley Cyrus twerking those days. I even had one survive the war, to come home and be killed by some imbecile who thought it was okay to get behind the wheel after a few dozen shots. I found out about her through facebook. Everyone did the usual, “R.i.P.” and “I can’t believe she’s gone,” but everything went back to normal the next day. In high school an acquaintance of mine, a pretty well-known and well liked guy, took his life three months after graduation. The shock of it all swept across the kids of that class, but nothing major happened to the community. A small town with a population of about 14,000 people didn’t even acknowledge the loss of a young resident. There was no candlelight vigil, no school memorial; with only a tiny obituary in the local paper and a Facebook page to memorialize him. And of course every year on his anniversary we all log on, write a heartfelt post to him as routine. It’s not that we don’t miss him-that’s not it at all. Of course some closer to him feel the blow more than others. I just have this feeling that we as a society move on so quickly because we have programmed death in our lives as an everyday phenomenon. It shouldn’t be so lackadaisical. We should feel, mourn, these innocent lives taken away from us at such a young age. We should be disgusted at these acts of violence such as that of Sandy Hook, Columbine, Boston marathon, and the many more like them. They shouldn’t just be trending topics on twitter for five minutes and be done with. We as a society, a community, should be more aware of our fellow human beings, and care a little more. Or is that just me? Life goes on- there is no set time limit.


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