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“He Died Doing What He Loved” (and other lies)

Is there anything you love doing so much that you wouldn’t mind dying while you did it?

Erotic asphyxiation? Gender reveal firework? Tiger selfie? Telling someone you’re vegan? Probably not. Why? Because if you love doing something , no matter what it is, you want to keep doing it. Which you can’t do if you’re dead.

We all die while doing what we love: living. But most of us don’t want to die doing it. And doesn’t the pain of your life ending surpass any love for whatever you were doing in the moment?

I don’t know who combined the facets of dying and doing what you love. These are mutually exclusive events that don’t go together. At all. It’s like saying, “At least he choked to death on a scallop because he loved seafood.” In this instance, he choked to death. He also loved mollusks. So why sugar butter coat it?

It’s always loved ones who proclaim this cliché because it gives them a semblance of peace. Like, just by saying it we can feel better imagining Ken the kiteboarder slamming face-first into the side of that sailboat with a toothy grin on his face knowing his death had meaning despite the skull numbing impact of forehead to fiberglass hull.

I love horses. But if one kicked me to death in the face I’d slip into the afterlife having regretted ever loving the equine genus.

And consider the Texas rattlesnake handler who died after he was bitten at a festival in South Texas in April, 2022. Despite 20-years of snake handling experience, Eugene De Leon Sr. was handling rattlesnakes in front of a crowd when he was bitten on the shoulder. His family stated on Facebook that (hold for surprise) “snake handling was his passion, and he died doing what he loved.”

We’d never say this if someone died of drug addiction. Which is biased since drugs were obviously their hobby and passion. “At least he died doing what he loved – shooting up.”

And what about all those who die in their sleep? Who doesn’t love sleeping? But you’ll never hear anyone eulogized this way because it doesn’t sound right. Which is why it’s more about the survivors than the deceased. The dead person doesn’t care if everyone knows they loved napping. Anyone over the age of five loves napping.

Personally, if I died doing what I loved it would be while canceling plans. And my obituary should reflect the truth. “Jon is survived by the few people he had left after bailing on most everyone else.”

We use a lot of euphemisms when it comes to death. He passed, he expired, he departed, he left this world, he’s no longer with us, etc. Then there are the myriad of platitudes we use to comfort others during a loss: “He’s no longer suffering;” “He’s in a better place;” “He’s looking down watching over us;” “He lived a full life;” and … “He died doing what he loved.”

Find what you love and let it kill you.  – Charles Bukowski

Copyright 2019 State of Anxiety | All Rights Reserved | by Baycentric