You could do d-e-d-w-y-f
When Jeffrey Dean Morgan kicks it, in this reality, his headstone will probably read:
He was definitely typecast for this role.
This was my favourite cosplayer. She’s dressed as Death of The Endless from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman graphic novel series. Oh and I’m here as well. Welp.
I remember when I created Death wondering if there would ever be Death cosplayers. Back then there were almost no women reading mainstream comics, so it seemed unlikely. And now, 25 years later, she’s caught up with us…
On April 3, 2003, my father’s mother passed away. She’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a few years prior, and her mental state had deteriorated at an alarming rate. The last time I saw her, she didn’t know who any of the visiting members of her family were; she had regressed to being between six and eight years old. She was scared of the strangers in her room, and it was the first time I’d seen my father cry.
Three days before my twentieth birthday, I received the call from my mother, telling me that she’d heard (from my brother) of my grandmother’s passing. Shortly after getting off the phone with her, I called my father to see how he was doing. At that time, he had only just received the information, so it had not properly hit him that his mother was no longer with us. We talked for five minutes or so, and upon hanging up I went to sit down at my computer, where I wrote a personal eulogy to one of the greatest people I’d ever known.
These days, I don’t cry. If I get upset, I either get very loud, very angry, or both; but I do not cry. This was how it was when, after finishing my typed-up eulogy, I realized I needed to mourn the death of my grandmother in, what I felt was, a more human manner. Having the apartment to myself for the evening, I turned up the volume of the stereo system and played Enya’s “May It Be” (from the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack) on repeat, letting the tears flow. It was very therapeutic, and after an hour of doing this, I felt better and prepared myself to actually say goodbye to my grandmother.
The wake was being held on the day of my twentieth birthday; the funeral on the day after. For the first four hours of my being awake for my birthday, I sat in my mother’s car, being driven by my mother’s boyfriend (who would become her husband, one year later) to South Carolina, mentally preparing myself for attending the first wake I would attend in which I would actually remember attending.
When we got to the funeral home, we were greeted by my father and his older sister, who gave us all hugs and condolences for the loss. My mother, wishing to pay her respects, damning any possibility of discomfort thanks to the divorce, came with my brother and me. My father’s family, either due to the current situation or due to being a close-knit family, accepted my mother into the fold, sharing condolences and thanking her for being there. She could not stay long, my mother, but she made sure she had spoken to everyone on my father’s side of the family - which, truth be told, is quite a population unto itself - before heading back to Raleigh.
I had never seen a real, in the flesh, dead body before. My brother, being the ever-curious, was the first of the two of us to see my grandmother in the open casket. Shortly after catching the quick glance at the lifeless face, my brother broke down in a fit of uncontrollable crying. I held him, tight, and said to him the things you say in that situation: she’s no longer suffering, she’s with Grandpa now, she’s probably stealing dances with Dean Martin and threatening to cut behinds and put salt in them if people don’t do as they’re told. This seemed to help a little, but as my brother was as emotional as I am, it would take time before he could come to terms with what had happened.
The time had come for me to say my own farewell, and after swallowing a bit of courage, I went up to the casket and looked upon the face of my deceased grandmother. I remember my initial thought, as it was what colored my entire emotional response from that point forward; I remember thinking, This isn’t my grandmother. The woman I had known, since I was but a toddler, always had a smile on her face. Even when she was upset, the corners of her lips had the ever-present upturn from years of having fun with life.
Looking down at the face of my grandmother, the upturn was nowhere to be found. Her face was caked in makeup, and did not look like the woman I had grown to love and adore. It was my grandmother’s body, but it wasn’t my grandmother. I stood there for a moment more, and finally said, softly, “Goodbye, Grandma. I love you.”
I moved out of the way so that others in the packed funeral home could pay their respects and wish fond farewells. My uncle, my father’s younger brother, was standing to the side, talking to a couple cousins of mine. When he saw me walking up, he gave me a hug, we shared condolences, and he asked me how I was holding up. Halfway through my response, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, sincerely, “Oh, and happy birthday.”
It wasn’t at the time, but when I look back at that moment now, I find it amusingly awkward.
In 2008, having just turned 62, beloved fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s. Three years later, he began the process to take his own life. Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die is a powerful and fascinating film, in which Pratchett explores the cultural controversies and private paradoxes surrounding the issue of assisted suicide, which remains illegal in most countries. From the “small but imbalancing inconveniences” of the disease’s earlier stages to the loss of his ability to type to witnessing a terminally ill man peacefully choreograph his own last breath in Switzerland, Pratchett explores what it would be like to be helped to die, and what it would mean for a society to make assisted death a safe refuge for the dying.
“When I am no longer able to write my books, I am not sure that I will want to go on living. I want to enjoy life for as long as I can squeeze the juice out of it — and then, I’d like to die. But I don’t quite know how, and I’m not quite sure when.”
I’m having a hard time thinking of something to add. I guess I’ll just say that this is a fascinating film, and it doesn’t require any knowledge about Terry Pratchett’s books.