The Lessons of Death

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When Death stares you in the face, you realize how real he is.  It suddenly hits you that all those years spent doubting his existence were a stupid waste.  You spent so much time teasing and tempting him, never expecting to see his apparition, but, now that he’s here, there’s so much you would change.  There are so many things you would undo and so many opportunities you wouldn’t let go of.  You wish you had listened to Death’s warning and had experienced life in its entirety.  When Death stares someone next to you in the face, you realize all this and then some.  You realize how fortunate you are to get a second chance because that is exactly what you are getting when Death looks away from you and at another.

When you see Death without fully experiencing his wrath, you are being given an opportunity to right all of your wrongs before he looks into your eyes.  You see how definite Death is, noticing the delicate balance of life.  You learn to seize every moment, making the most of everything you’re given, no matter how small.  A minute, a penny, a hand.  They all seem miniscule in comparison to other lively prizes, but you don’t know which of these tools will be the one to lead you further on.  You don’t know which one will be your last one, so you are forced to expend every bit of each one.

With this newfound appreciation for life, you learn to truly seek and appreciate happiness, not the comfort of those around you.  If you live in misery while the person you’re sacrificing yourself for thrives, are you truly content?  Yes, the joy of others brings us peace and joy as well, but only when we have found our enough balance within to appreciate the positive vibes of others.  Happiness is found within yourself and, frankly, you cannot fake or replace true happiness with that of another’s, so you learn to find it for yourself.

The coming visit from Death also allows you to realize that things can always be done differently and progress is always possible.  The only end of your human life is Death’s arrival, but, until then, your soul can keep learning, growing, and progressing.  A life is never done maturing, so don’t stop it from doing so.  Perhaps, you can be nicer or maybe more effort can be exuberated.  It is just a matter of your own determination, which will decide how far you can go in life.

Death is scary.  He is terrifying and, unfortunately, he’s also the only thing that’s definite, but sometimes the fear he strikes is the remedy.  Sometimes he’s the turning point a person on the wrong path needed in order to find better.  I know people who have seen Death and have continued on like he was joke, changing nothing until regret sets in.  But I have also seen those who felt Death’s cold touch, no matter how brief or distant, and have turned around, now moving toward a bigger picture in their lives.  Their paths started off as rocky and dark, but ended with smoother edges.  These people saw Death and realized life’s worth.  Those were the people who helped me realize life’s worth.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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