Is Death as Beautiful as Love?
“Death is as beautiful as love.” I vehemently disagree with this closing line from a poem I wrote in high school. I tried hard to remember the rest of the poem and understand what was meant, but unfortunately, that is the only line I can remember. I will tell you right up front that I think there is nothing that is as beautiful as love.
Seeking insight, I tried to imagine what a beautiful death would look like, perhaps stepping in front of a bullet intended for someone else or dying in defense of your country. Those are selfless and honorable ways to die.
Making a living will ensures a peaceful death when there is no hope of recovery and provides an end to the sufferings of family members. That is a responsible and loving way to die.
Maybe it would be beautiful to die holding the hand of the one you love and plunging to your death from one of the many famous “Lovers’ Leaps.” Well, maybe that kind of death isn’t beautiful, though it might be preferable to being forced into a loveless marriage. Having heard tales as a child about a “Lovers’ Leap” in West Virginia, this is the sentimental favorite among the candidates for a “beautiful death.”
Death is natural and something we all will experience, but we shouldn’t expect it to be beautiful. I believe that what is beautiful is the love that motivated the people involved in the scenarios mentioned, and not the death itself. As I stated at the beginning, I don’t believe that anything is as beautiful as love.
Going forward, since I couldn’t reconstruct the original poem, I decided to write a poem that included the line from the original poem, “Death is as beautiful as love.” After many failed attempts, I settled for writing a poem about an imaginary young couple at Lovers’ Leap, a sort of “Romeo and Juliet of the mountains.”
A Tale of Lovers’ Leap
Hand-in hand, Darling,
we climb to dizzying heights
above the valley,
where our feuding families
have forbidden us to wed.
standing on the precipice
above our valley,
hand-in-hand, we’ll leap into
Will they weep for us
down in the valley of hate?
Will the feuding end?
Will they bury us side-by-side
down in a valley of love?
Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia
Personal Note: I began writing this post in the hospital waiting room while Robert was undergoing emergency pacemaker surgery on Wednesday. He came home on Thursday and is recovering well. I may have been thinking some dark thoughts as I wrote, but the sun is shining now! A full recovery is expected in four to six weeks.