The pandemic has caused enormous panic. It seems to me that this is mostly because we suppress death’s part in the life cycle. We pretend it doesn’t exist. I would like to introduce a different approach to the epidemic. Maybe we should examine it from the point of view of the end, of death? Developed societies have preferred to subject themselves to the tyranny of states, which have used the outbreak to take TOTAL control over society, which was made possible by its denial of death. Around 400,000 thousand people die in Poland every year, mostly due to chronic illnesses: cancer, diabetes, heart conditions. Why don’t we fight pesticides? Why don’t we ban sugary drinks? Because that’s not how you can gain control over people. Our society is afraid of death and that’s why it can be so easily manipulated. That’s also why it’s scared of Islamic fighters – because they aren’t scared of death. That’s why Rome was afraid of the first Christians.
I hear that people in the south of Europe are dying in humiliating conditions: in isolation, in makeshift hospitals, watched over by their loved ones via the Internet. Is that how we would like to die? No! I’d understand if this were the Spanish Flu, which was much more dangerous for young people. If I were to die, I would much rather do so surrounded by my loved ones, and I’d prefer my family to attend my funeral, with no government intervening in a matter as important as a funeral and how many people are allowed to attend it. Or in whether I’m going to the shop or somewhere else.
Instead of shutting down almost everything, the government should first of all consider how many people could potentially die and prepare spaces for their burial as well as dignified conditions for funerals to take place in. It’s very easy to dig a grave – it takes about three hours by hand, and you can bury an entire village in a day with a digger.
And what if it was me who was going to die? I would like to be buried on my own land, under an oak tree. But of course the bloody government wouldn’t let me. Because I live in a stupid rigid bureaucratic country. This is what it’s come to – a human being can’t lie in a coffin in their own forest. Because everything has to be officially disposed of. When I’m dead, I would like my loved ones to take care of the trees in my forest. I’ve made a GPS map of them to make them easier to find. I would like them to protect the oaks, maples and cherry trees – my three favourite trees. I would like them to spread my beloved spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) further and further out into the garden every March in my memory. All else that remains will be my writings and the daughters I gave life to.
I don’t want a Christian funeral, although I feel very close to the figure of Jesus and I have nothing against individuals praying using the words and hymns of their religion. I would like a grave in the woods, made of earth, maybe with some stone carving on the megalith. I would like a funeral directed by someone who understands the spirits of the forest.
I am writing down this vision because I believe that everyone should have a think about whether they have done everything they’ve wanted to in their lives. Maybe now is the time to buy that thing you’ve been dreaming about online? Maybe you’ve not told someone that you love them? Have you behaved in accordance with your conscience? Maybe we ought to prepare for death, and then go on living without panic. The outbreak will burn out on its own. Have you ever seen dry grass burning in spring? Once it’s all burned down, the fire won’t come back. But we prefer to push our fear away and stifle society in the chains of a totalitarian quarantine.