I’ve been asked recently whether I believe in heaven. Gavin didn’t, and since it was his death, I felt that his beliefs should be those that governed.
I know, it doesn’t make sense; I can imagine him wherever I want to. But somehow it doesn’t seem fair to insist his soul do what I ask when he isn’t even on this plane anymore. Isn’t compromise at the heart of all marriages? Even the ones that are no longer active?
Gavin was raised Catholic and he thought they were great stories, but he never had any expectation that there was truth there. He studied science and Buddhism but the afterlife was not among his primary theological concerns. He told me clearly, once during his last four days of life (when he was in inpatient Hospice), that death was a nothing: whatever the process is, the finale is that your body dies and the lights are just shut off.
In all things, it’s what you do when you’re alive that matters, the legacy you leave, the love you make. That he took very seriously. Whether his artwork, reputation, or relationships continued to send good vibes after he was gone, he was sure wouldn’t matter to him.
So I have to believe, if I follow my wifely logic, that right now he’s nowhere. Just gone.
It’s not a great movie, but Mr. Magorium’s Magic Emporium has this quote about the end, which I felt expressed Gavin’s vision very well:
Mr. Magorium: When King Lear dies in Act Five do you know what William Shakespeare has written? He’s written, “He dies.” That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of the dramatic literature is, “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare’s genius to come up with, “He dies.”
And yet every time I read those two words I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, not because of the words, “He dies,” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.
I’ve lived all five of my acts ... and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page. Continue reading. And let the next story begin.
And if anyone ever asks what became of me, you relay my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple, and modest, “He died.”
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