This past weekend I confronted the idea of death once again as I attended the funeral of my oldest uncle who passed at age 102+. It was not a sad affair as we all recognized he’d had an awesome life. The affair was further lightened by it being an occasion for family reunion. Not everyone came. Some were not able to. Seeing those who were in attendance made the circumstances of loss seem a little less dismal. Being with family, I think, despite what ever distance between might mean, is always a good thing overall. We feel loved on such occasions, at least that’s it for me.
Death occurs in my novel, The Chechen’s Revenge, but the event is seen from the cold hard position of investigators who know with some certainty that the passing is that of strangers. There is a certain lack of emotion at that juncture in the storyline. I debated with myself for quite awhile before writing the death scene. I questioned if not writing about death would somehow lessen the story. I also wondered if I wrote about death, especially violent death, if that would cause some readers to be turned off. My conclusion was to write about death and reveal the violent character of the deaths in fairly graphic terms, feeling it was justified by the need to make the storyline a realistic as possible. My theory is that when writing about terrorists and their intended action death is a logical and probable outcome.
What I did not include is any thought about those left behind. I wrote that my investigators did not have to face those who suffered the loss. That was because bombs were the proximate cause of the deaths. The resulting goal was to find those responsible for the bombs and, in a belief terrorists were responsible there was no need to talk to the victims family members. It would have muddied the waters.
Despite the fact that death is inevitable for each of us, and that in a novel about the attempts to prevent terrorism in situations where death might well be inevitable in a violent fashion, I do think that facing the idea of death is not a bad thing to experience. It just might make us think a bit about our own relationships and how perhaps we ought to value them carefully before death takes us.
Ron Stotyn, PhD